Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Indiana State Capitol

Shortly after the end of the 1875 Indiana legislative session, a state senator, Andrew J. Boone, died at his home in Lebanon, Indiana. The death of this one lawmaker was of more than usual concern to his constituents and fellow legislators because some argued that Boone’s fatal illness was due to the structure where state’s laws were being made—the Indiana State Capitol.

The original Indiana Statehouse, constructed in 1830 at a cost of approximately $60,000, had deteriorated enough over the years that one representative, Richard R. Stephenson of Hamilton County, likened the building to the “Black Hole of Calcutta.”

A New State House Committee, appointed by the general assembly in 1873, had warned lawmakers that the building was “totally inadequate to the public service.” Something had to be done before more legislators were felled by the structure’s leaky roof, poor ventilation, and crumbling walls.

On March 14, 1877, the Indiana General Assembly finally acted to rectify the situation, approving an act authorizing the construction of a new statehouse at a cost not to exceed $2 million. Despite losing the original architect for the project, Edwin May, who died only a few years after work had started, construction on the new state capitol, an example of the Renaissance Revival style, was completed on October 2, 1888, at a total expense of $1,980,969, well within the state’s original budget. The statehouse, with architecture reminiscent of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., remains the seat of Indiana’s government, serving as home to the House of Representatives, Senate, Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and a host of state agencies and offices. Thanks to an approximately $11 million restoration projected completed in time for the building’s 1998 centennial, today’s Hoosiers can walk through its skylighted, marble-topped corridors and marvel at the structure’s classic features.

Of course, as with many government-sponsored projects, erecting such a stately edifice took plenty of time and generated a great deal of paperwork. Overseeing the building of the new statehouse in 1877 was a five-member Board of State House Commissioners, which consisted of the governor and two members of each political party. The commission engaged the services of an architect, civil engineer, and builder to examine four designs for the new capitol that had been received by the state prior to March 1877. They were to judge if the designs could be completed according to plans and specifications within the $2 million limit, whether dangers from fire were sufficiently guarded against, if ample provisions were made for safely heating the building, and if the materials of the superstructure were “in kind and quality such as to insure stability and permanence.”

All the plans were rejected for not meeting the requirements imposed by the commissioners. As well as ridding itself of old plans, the board had to clean its own house, firing its secretary, W. C. Tarkington, in January 1878 because he attempted to influence the selection of a design for which he would receive money.

Hoping to spark some ideas, the commissioners visited Springfield, Peoria, and Chicago, Illinois; Hartford, Connecticut; Lansing, Michigan; Washington, D.C.; and Cincinnati, Ohio, to examine their public buildings. Thus armed, the commissioners held an open competition for the statehouse design and received twenty-four plans. On April 11, 1878, the board accepted the design submitted by May, a Boston native who had come to Indiana in 1840 and was known for his work on the Northern Indiana Prison at Michigan City and county courthouses in Allen, Decatur, Hamilton, and Knox Counties. May called his plans for the capitol “Lucidus Ordo,” Latin for “a clear arrangement.” For his work, May was to receive 2 percent of the building’s cost as his fee.

Although the project was delayed for a bit due to lawsuits brought by architects whose designs failed to win the competition, construction bids were finally opened by the commissioners on August 15, 1878. The contract was awarded to Kanmacher and Denig of Chicago, and work began on the new building that fall. The cornerstone, a ten-ton block of Indiana limestone inscribed with “A.D. 1880,” was laid in ceremonies on September 28, 1880. Along with a keynote address by Governor Thomas Hendricks, poet Sarah Bolton read a piece she had written for the occasion. The public took such a keen interest in the project that there were several accidents at the site, as well as incidents of people damaging materials and interfering with work. To halt the problems, the board ordered the statehouse grounds close to the public.

A bigger problem had occurred in February 1880 when May, who was in Jacksonville, Florida, recuperating from an illness, died. To keep the project running smoothly, the commissioners appointed Adolph Scherrer, who had been working by May’s side for the past seven years, as supervising architect for the new statehouse. The commissioners also had to find a new contractor when, in 1883, Kanmacher and Denig had trouble with its Chicago financier. New bids were solicited for the building, and the commissioners awarded the contract to Elias F. Gobel and Columbus Cummings of Chicago.

The Indiana General Assembly held its first session in the new statehouse on January 6, 1887, but work continued at the site until September 1888. The Board of State House Commissioners concluded its work and closed its accounts on October 2, 1888.

Through the years, the statehouse underwent extensive renovations to bring it up to modern conditions. During that time, much of the building’s original character was lost. In 1986 the legislature approved funding to return the building to its 1888 appearance in time for its centennial. The restoration, under the direction of Indianapolis’s Cooler Group, Inc., included stripping, painting, and decorating with the original 1886 designs approximately four acres of plaster walls and ceilings; using approximately 1,500 gallons of paint to re-create the original plans and refinish the area above the rotunda; cleaning approximately 124,500 square feet of interior marble and limestone; and removing 2,920 two-feet-square pieces of marble floor so that new electrical wiring could be installed.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Robert L. Sherrod and the Two Flags on Iwo Jima

Located just 700 miles south of Tokyo, Iwo Jima (“Sulphur Island”) posed a threat to American B-29 Superfortress bombers on their way to missions over Japan. A radar station on the island gave the home islands two hours warning of approaching raids, and fighters on its two airfields sometimes harassed U.S. bases in the Marianas. The U.S. Marine Corps was tasked with taking the island to provide bases for long-range P-51 fighters to escort the huge U.S. bombers and permit damaged B-29s to land there in case of emergencies.

On February 19, 1945, Time correspondent Robert L. Sherrod, as he had on previous occasions, accompanied the marines as they fought to take a heavily defended enemy outpost in the Pacific. Sherrod set foot on Iwo Jima’s coarse, volcanic-ash beach late on the afternoon of the first day of combat with fifteen officers and men of the Twenty-Fourth Marine Regiment, Fourth Marine Division. The correspondent spent two days on the island, where, among the American fighting men, as Admiral Chester Nimitiz said, “uncommon valor was a common virtue,” before returning to his transport to write his stories of a “very hot beachhead” for Operation Detachment. 

On February 23, after spending two days on the USS Bayfield, Sherrod was ready, “and moderately willing,” to return to Iwo Jima. For his trip, he hitched a ride with Major General Clifton B. Cates, Fourth Marine Division commander, on a Landing Ship, Medium (LSM), as the surf had turned too rough for Higgins boats to navigate safely ashore. “Weather today again stormy, cold, prohibits much landing of supplies. . . . Choppy, mean water,” Sherrod wrote in the notebook he always carried with him into battle. Soon after the craft was under way, Sherrod heard someone yell, “Look, they’ve got the flag up on Mount Suribachi!”

Sherrod and Cates looked up and saw the Stars and Stripes atop the extinct volcano, which the correspondent described as resembling “an inverted, slightly melted” ice-cream scoop. “Tears welled in the eyes of several Marines as they watched the little flag fluttering in the breeze,” Sherrod said. The correspondent jotted down in the notebook: “Approaching control boat. Can see troops standing on Suribachi and flag flying.” Sherrod remembered seeing General Cates look at the flag and commenting, “I’m glad—Keller Rockey [the Fifth Marine Division commander] is a fine fellow.” Sherrod noted that Cates made his comment as though he believed the capture of Suribachi signaled the end of the battle, and he had missed it.

Cates was mistaken—there were still plenty of Japanese left on the island, and the 70,000 marines who took part in the fighting endured additional suffering before organized resistance ended on March 25. “Iwo Jima took a long time; it was to seem like centuries before it was over,” said Sherrod. Among those who gave their lives on the island was Sergeant Ernest Thomas, the leader of a detachment from Third Platoon, Company E, Twenty-Eighth Marines that had fought its way up the steep slopes of Suribachi to raise the first flag, a twenty-eight by fifty-four-inch banner brought to Iwo Jima from the attack transport USS Missoula and attached to a Japanese pipe found on the mountain’s summit. A marine combat cameraman, Sergeant Louis Lowery, had joined the patrol and was able to take photographs of the stirring scene. “It was a dramatic moment. It seemed that we could do anything if we could capture that vertical monstrosity at the south end of Iwo,” said Sherrod.

Sherrod made it ashore at 12:30 p.m. on February 23 and conferred with General Rockey at his command post, joined there by Major General Harry Schmidt. The executive officer of the Twenty-Eighth Marines, Robert H. Williams, briefed the generals about conditions on the island’s southern end, and received congratulations on capturing Suribachi. “It wasn’t so tough,” Williams said, “there wasn’t a great deal of opposition after we got past the guns at the base of the mountain.” As he continued walking toward Suribachi, Sherrod stopped to talk with an officer who lamented the failure to capture any Japanese prisoners. “Before we blow a cave we give them a chance,” noted Colonel Harry Liversedge. “We send an interpreter up to the cave and he tells the Japs they’ll be well treated if they surrender. They never do.”

With several other correspondents, including John Lardner of The New Yorker, who had been with him in Australia earlier in the war, Sherrod intended to climb the 556 feet to the top of Suribachi, but “it was late in the afternoon and the way was steep for old newsmen in their thirties.” Sherrod never made it to the mountain’s summit until a year and a half later, via Jeep, and did not know at the time that the first flag had been replaced by a larger, second flag. “Nearly everyone on the island faced northward, away from Suribachi,” he explained.

In addition to reporting on the fighting on Iwo Jima, described by General Holland Smith as “the most savage and costly battle in the history of the Marine Corps,” with every third man who landed either killed or wounded, Sherrod found himself engulfed in another controversy. On this occasion, it involved what is today considered the iconic image of World War II—Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal’s shot of a group of six Marines raising the flag atop Suribachi, actually the second flag to be placed on the mountain. A marine colonel had sent one of his men to get a larger flag from one of the ships on the beach to replace the first—a flag large enough, he said, so “that the men at the other end of the island will see it. It will lift their spirits also.”

Sherrod initially believed that Rosenthal’s image had been posed and Lowery had been cheated of proper credit for his work. Sherrod even cabled Time on March 13 that the planting of the flag “didn’t quite happen that way and the historical picture was a post facto rehearsal.” (Rosenthal always correctly maintained that his image had not been posed, and even noted that if he had purposely posed the shot, “I would, of course, have ruined it. I’d have picked fewer men. . . . I would also have made them turn their heads so that they could be identified for AP members throughout the country, and nothing like the existing picture would have resulted.”)

Sherrod noted he “could not have been more wrong” about Rosenthal posing the photograph and was embarrassed about his error for years to come. Still, he believed that the “implications of Rosenthal’s picture were all wrong.” Sherrod noted that Iwo Jima had not been a matter of “climbing the parapet and heroically planting the flag there.” Instead, he reflected after the war, it had been a “tortuous, painful slogging northward on the pork chop-shaped island, which eventually cost us 6,821 killed and 19,217 wounded. Suribachi was a symbol, and it was nice to have our flag up there, but the action—and the horror—was elsewhere.”

Sherrod left Iwo Jima on March 9 on Turner’s flagship, USS El Dorado, and managed to write several stories about his experiences on the island before docking at Apra Harbor in Guam forty-nine hours later. While on Guam, Sherrod became embroiled in a dispute about the photograph Rosenthal had made of the second flag being raised on Suribachi. The first flag to fly over the mountain had been carried to the top, and met with Japanese resistance, by a forty-man combat patrol under the command of First Lieutenant Harold G. Schrier, who had been ordered to seize and occupy Suribachi’s crest by Colonel Chandler W. Johnson. When the patrol reached near the top, it engaged in a firefight with the enemy. While the skirmish still raged, some of the marines found a Japanese iron pipe to which they could secure the American flag, and picked the highest spot on which to raise it. “We found a water pipe, tied the flag to it and put it up,” recalled Corporal Charles W. Lindberg. “Then all hell broke loose below. Troops cheered, ships blew horns and whistles, and some men openly wept. It was a sight to behold . . . something a man doesn’t forget.”

On the beach below, General Smith saw the flag flying atop Suribachi, and later called it one of the “proud moments of my life.” Standing next to Smith was Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, who had accompanied the invasion forces. Forrestal turned to the general and said, “Holland, the raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years.” The entire operation had been captured on four rolls of Eastman film by Lowery, a photographer for the marines’ Leatherneck magazine, who had accompanied the patrol and, after the flag raising, had broken his camera diving away from a grenade thrown at him by a Japanese soldier.

On his way down from the mountaintop, Lowery came across a marine resupply patrol bringing a larger flag taken from LST 779 (a flag previously salvaged from the attack on Pearl Harbor) to replace the smaller flag flying over Suribachi. Trudging uphill with the patrol were three photographers—a civilian, Rosenthal of the AP, and two marine photographers, Sergeant Bill Genaust, a motion picture cameraman (later killed on Iwo Jima), and Private Bob Campbell, a still photographer. “Rosenthal stopped me as I was heading toward the ship with my film,” Lowery said. “He asked if anything was happening up on the mountain. I told him a small flag had been raised and there was talk that another patrol was taking off with a larger flag, to replace the first one.” Rosenthal asked Lowery if he should continue to the top, and he responded by nothing that he believed “there were good shots to be had because you could see almost the whole beach, with a panorama of the ships and equipment below.” Rosenthal thanked Lowery and resumed his climb. He later noted that he did not “have any thought that there would be a second flag raising. Didn’t know it until I got to the top.”

As the trail steepened near the summit, Rosenthal said that his group’s “panting progress slowed to a few yards at a time. I began to wonder and hope that this was worth the effort, when suddenly over the brow of the topmost ridge we could spy men working with the flagpole they had so laboriously brought up about a quarter of an hour ahead of us.” When the marines began to raise the second flag atop Suribachi, Rosenthal shouted out a warning to Genaust that it was going up and, as he later recalled, “swung my camera around and held it until I could guess that this was the peak of the action, and shot.”

With one click of the shutter, he caught an image that won him the Pulitzer Prize for photography, became a symbol for a national war-loan drive, appeared on a postage stamp, and served as the model for the Marine Corps War Memorial next to the National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia (dedicated on November 10, 1954). A decade after he had taken the photograph, Rosenthal said that out of all the elements that went into making the image, the part he played had been the least important. “To get that flag up there, America’s fighting men had to die on that island and on other islands and off the shores and in the air,” Rosenthal reflected. “What difference does it make who took the picture? I took it, but the Marines took Iwo Jima.”

One of the first to see Rosenthal’s flag-raising image, First Lieutenant Jack Bodkin, a naval picture editor on Guam and an AP photo editor in civilian life, recognized immediately how powerful it would become, saying, “Here’s one for all time,” before transmitting the photograph to San Francisco for publication in the United States. Rosenthal left Iwo Jima and arrived at Guam on March 4. There he saw, for the first time, his flag-raising photograph. Previously, when news had spread that his photograph had become widely popular in the United States, appearing on front pages in newspapers across the country, Rosenthal had not known which one of the eighteen photographs he had taken was the one winning all the glory. He even wondered if it could be the posed “gung-ho” image he had taken of the marines gathered around the flag waving their helmets and weapons.

Unfortunately, the attention Rosenthal had garnered for his photograph of the second flag raising caused the photographer who had taken images of the first flag on Suribachi to wonder how his work had been upstaged. On Guam, Lowery questioned what had happened to his photographs and took his complaints to Sherrod. The correspondent’s publication, Time, had led its March 5 issue with Rosenthal’s flag-raising photograph, but editors at Life, particularly executive editor Daniel Longwell, were suspicious about the authenticity of Rosenthal’s photograph, said Sherrod, believing it to be a posed shot, and decided not to run it in their magazine. “Since I was still on Iwo, I didn’t yet know of these decisions,” said Sherrod. “I didn’t even know the flag’s picture had been taken.”

According to Sherrod, Lowery was “more than lukewarm under the collar” about failing to receive the proper credit for photographing the first flag raising. The correspondent said that Lowery described Rosenthal’s photograph as “grand photographically but, in a fashion, historically phony, like Washington crossing the Delaware.” (The famous painting by Emanuel Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware, had been painted from models on the Rhine River many years after the American Revolution.) As someone who had supported the marines in his writing, and shared dangers with them, it is not hard to believe that Sherrod chose to support Lowery’s story and attempted to right what he perceived to be a wrong.

Years later, however, Sherrod conceded he should have been more careful in accepting a version of events from “a man who was boiling mad” and bitter about his work being seemingly ignored. The correspondent made another mistake in believing rumors he heard on Guam that Rosenthal had become so famous that he had already returned to the United States to embark on a lecture tour; the AP photographer did not leave the American base until March 15. (Sherrod subsequently received some criticism from his fellow correspondents for his failure to talk directly to Rosenthal about his suspicions.)

On March 13 Sherrod cabled to Time that the planting of the flag made famous by Rosenthal’s photograph “didn’t quite happen that way, and the historic picture was a post facto rehearsal. The flag—a medium-sized flag—was actually planted atop Mount Suribachi at 10:30 February 23rd (dog plus four). Photographer Joe Rosenthal of Associated Press climbed the mountain that afternoon and took his excellent picture of a larger flag being raised. At the same time he took a posed picture of a group of marines standing together around the flag waving their hands like Miami chorus girls posing for newsreels.” 

Sherrod suggested the situation should make for a good feature layout in Life, showing Rosenthal’s “really great picture on one hand, then showing what really happened on the other,” by using the images Lowery took of the first flag raising. He also provided a timeline for how the first flag raising happened, including the names of the combat patrol from the Twenty-Eighth Marines, as well as caption information provided to him by Lowery for thirty-two of the fifty-six images he had taken on the mountain.

Two days later, in another cable to his magazine, Sherrod noted the story would not make Time or Life popular with the AP, “naturally, so handle it carefully. To clarify: Rosenthal didn’t arrange to have the larger second flag carried up the mountain—he just went along.” In a March 17 cable Sherrod also called the second flag raising “unquestionably genuine,” but added that in his opinion, the famous picture taken by Rosenthal was posed, but that depended on “the definition of posed and whether anything that is genuine can be posed. I would say that it was posed, but the incident itself was perhaps not rigged. The point is made here that a flag-raising is not supposed to be a battle scene—it is a postbattle ceremony. That is correct.” He also wanted people to know that what Rosenthal had captured had not been the original flag raising on Suribachi, as that honor belonged to Lowery.

Luckily for Sherrod, neither Time nor Life published any of his suspicions about Rosenthal’s work—a fact for which he was later grateful. Unfortunately for him, and for his employer, and unknown to the correspondent at the time, his allegations about the image being bogus were broadcast by Time’s weekly radio service, Time Views the News, on WJZ radio in New York on March 13. The broadcast cited a cable from Sherrod as the basis for its declaration that the AP photographer’s “great picture was a whiz photographically but historically it was slightly phony. Rosenthal climbed Suribachi, after the flag had already been planted. . . . Like most photographers, Rosenthal could not resist re-posing his characters in heroic fashion. He posed them and snapped the scene.”

AP officials were, unsurprisingly, displeased about having its photographer’s integrity questioned, and threatened a million-dollar lawsuit if Life dared print any story repeating the claims made by Time Views the News; on March 17 the program broadcast a correction and apology to the AP and Rosenthal, and said it had misunderstood Sherrod’s cable. Although Longwell still had doubts about Rosenthal’s photograph, he noted: “The great thing was that the country believed in that picture, and I just had to pipe down.”

In its March 26, 1945, issue, Life finally published Rosenthal’s photograph, what it called “one of the most talked-about pictures of the war,” also including in its story about it Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware and Lowery’s image of the first flag raising on Iwo Jima. The story also included information supplied by Sherrod that war historians should note that at other heights on the island the Lone Star flag of Texas and a Confederate flag “were raised in pictorially unrecorded and spontaneous bursts of enthusiasm.”

Sherrod noted that his editors never informed him about AP’s protest, and he did not learn of it until twenty years later while lunching in New York with Alan J. Gould, a former top executive with AP. He acknowledged he “went a bit overboard” and also apologized to Rosenthal and AP. Still, he considered Rosenthal’s renowned photograph as “the salon painting of World War II.”