Memorial Temple Under Way in Washington

What went wrong with the planned National Victory Memorial Building?

The hall with a 7,000 seat auditorium inside was intended for Washington D.C., at the site of what is now the west building of the National Gallery of Art. The structure was intended to be completely separate from the Washington Monument, even though it was originally supposed to honor the same man.

Ground would later be broken in November 1921, but a lack of funds prevented it from ever opening. Intended to be paid for entirely with private funds, $2.5 million to $3 million was needed, but only about $500,000 was actually raised.

Despite the support of President Woodrow Wilson who was president at the time of this article, and his successor Warren G. Harding, the project was formally abandoned in August 1937. The cumulative donations were donated to George Washington University (GWU), where it was used in part to construct the auditorium Lisner Hall.

An auditorium where I myself have been several times, including the time I saw a talk by Richard Dawkins and asked him this question:

Memorial Temple Under Way in Washington: Fund Left by the First President Was Basis of Project for Majestic Structure Which Can Be Utilized as a Joint Monument to the Men of ’17 and ’76 Memorial Temple Under Way in Washington

Published: Sunday, February 23, 1919

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