Benjamin F. Stephenson Grand Army of the Republic Memorial

Stephenson Grand Army of the Republic Memorial

The sculpture honoring Benjamin Franklin Stephenson, M.D. and the Grand Army of the Republic located in Indiana Plaza was dedicated on July 3, 1909. John Massey Rhind was the sculptor.

The description from the Art Inventories Catalog is as follows: At the start of the Civil War in 1861, Dr. Stephenson served as surgeon of the 14th Illinois Infantry Regiment. He rose to the rank of brigade surgeon by the time he was discharged in 1864.

In 1866, Stephenson organized a national association for both Union officers and enlisted men who had been honorable discharged. The organization became known as the Grand Army of the Republic and its mission was to assist not only disabled Union Veterans, but also the widows of Union soldiers. The organization was a politically strong group that fought for increased pensions and continued strength of U.S. military. The organization closed when the last Union soldier died in 1959.

The memorial was erected by the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Association at a cost of $35,000 appropriated by a March 4, 1907 Act of Congress. The construction of the memorial was supervised by the Stephenson Memorial Commission. Rankin, Kellogg & Crane designed the central shaft of the memorial. William Gray and Sons were the contractors for the piece and P. R. Pullman and Company were the contractors for the foundation. The soil below the site was not firm enough for the memorial so the concrete foundation had to be increased in size to reduce the pressure per square foot. The memorial has been moved just a bit, it was originally located a few yards away on the spot where the Temperance Fountain is now located.

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One Response to “Benjamin F. Stephenson Grand Army of the Republic Memorial”

  1. Alan Weinstock, M.D. Says:

    Thanks for the explanation. I saw the monument and had never heard to Dr. Stephenson and wondered what he had done to warrant the statue being build for him.

    Dr. ARW

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