If you’re an admirer of John Adams, our second President, you might have been disappointed two Saturdays ago when the Nationals selected William Howard Taft as their fifth “Racing President.” True, “Bill” has much more baseball lineage, but think of the fun we could have been had with the heated rivalry between Adams and Jefferson.
What Adams followers won’t be disappointed with is the proposed Adams Memorial. Congress set the wheels in motion in 2001 by authorizing the Adams Memorial Foundation to “establish a commemorative work on Federal land in the District of Columbia and its environs to honor former President John Adams and his legacy.”
The Memorial Foundation has selected four sites (see below). The memorial would honor not only Adams, but also his wife Abigail; their grandson and sixth President, John Quincy Adams and his wife Louisa Catherine Adams, the only foreign-born First Lady in U.S. history; their son Charles Frances Adams (member of Congress, editor and diplomat); Henry Adams, a fourth-generation descendant best known for his Pulitzer-Prize winning autobiography, “The Education of Henry Adams.”
As noted by an article in The Washington Times, the memorial will be “a modest library filled with Adams’ books and letters and set into a garden.”
"...envisions a simple stone or brick pavilion with a cupola rather than a marble neoclassical monument like the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials. Inside, exhibits devoted to the family’s service to the country will “make history cool to our young folks."
And don’t think that all this history is dry. Of Adam’s run for the Presidency in 1799, biographer David McCullough said it was, “perhaps the most vicious election in history.”
The four sites are:
Massachusetts and 1st Streets NE, the Polo Grounds by the tidal basin, Square 575 just northwest of the Capitol, and Freedom Plaza.
The Adams Foundation prefers Freedom Plaza, since it is closer to the White House.
The Adams Memorial is a grave marker located in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Henry Adams commissioned Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who sculpted an allegorical figure. It was erected in 1891 and pays tribute to Adams’s wife, Marian Clover Hooper, who committed suicide.
To avoid confusion, perhaps this new one will be named the John Adams Memorial.