I went to discover what is considered « one of the most magnificent war memorials in the world » The Elks national Veterans Memorial. Located on the 2750 North Lakeview Avenue in Chicago the building is not only a Memorial but it’s also the Headquarter of Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. This fraternal order founded in 1868 in New York by a bunch of white dudes, built this memorial to honor their members who died during World War I.
The Memorial was designed by E. Swartwout and its construction started in 1923 and finished in 1926. The rotunda is the main building. The stairs is flanked by two large bronze sculptures of elks and bring you to a huge bronze door (that is not open, you enter from the side). The rotunda is made of marble from around the US, but also from Europe such as France, Belgium, Italy, and Austria. At the top of the rotunda the Elks mission is carved « Inculcating the principles of charity justice brotherly love and fidelity. Promoting the and enhancing the happiness of mankind quickening the spirit of american patriotism. » The rotunda is decorated with paintings and sculptures all from 20’s style representing Triumphs, Peace, Victories, and virtues of Elks order. On the side of the Rotunda, the Grand Reception Hall, covered by England wood columns , murals from E. Savage, and amazing art glass windows.
The Elks memorial was rededicated in 1946, 1976, 1994 to include (World War Two, Korean and Vietnam War and First Gulf War). Even if the building is a memorial there are no names of patriots who died the idea was more to honor all veterans and their bravery (on the other side it looks to the visitor more a Memorial to honor Benevolent Protective Order of Elks itself).
Peace & Freedom!