Letters to the Washington Post- The Mall: A Place for the People

Dear National Coalition to Save Our Mall Members and Friends:

We are very pleased to report that the following two letters to the editor were published in today’s Washington Post . They both appear under the heading:

The Mall: A Place for the People

1. Thanks to Scott Berg for reminding us that the Mall was originally intended as a place for the people [“The Man With the Plan,” July 19].

Pierre L’Enfant’s vision of the Mall as a “place of general resort” drew also on Thomas Jefferson’s concept of the Mall as a “public walks.” The McMillan Commission of 1901-1902 reinforced and built upon that vision, with its plan for a great public parkland extending two miles from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial and the White House to the Jefferson Memorial.

Contrast those democratic and humanistic visions with today: surveillance cameras at the monuments, security checkpoints at public gatherings (July 4) and a football field-size granite plaza stretched across the open space and vistas between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument (the World War II Memorial).

L’Enfant wouldn’t have settled for piecemeal changes rushed into place to satisfy transitory political fashion or hypersensitive security fears.

It’s time for people who still believe in the founding values to take back our icon of democracy and restore its uniquely American, democratic soul.


National Coalition to Save Our Mall

2. Why did The Post wax poetic over the genius of Pierre L’Enfant, Frederick Law Olmsted and the McMillan Commission of 1901-1902? Mr. Olmsted’s spectacular Grand Vista between the Lincoln and Washington Monuments was the McMillan plan’s crowning achievement.

The Post also chose to cater to the artistically challenged proponents of a rudely placed World War II memorial, which will ruin the Grand Vista and sever the sightline afforded Lincoln. Where was The Post when the legacies of Mr. Olmsted and the McMillan Commission were under attack by misguided patriots?


Long Beach, Calif.