Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Lincoln Park: Formal Garden [Schiller Monument - by Ernst Rau]
Johanne Christoph Friedrich von Schiller - by Ernst Rau
Location: Lincoln Park - The Great Garden
Southern end of the Conservatory Garden
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German playwright, poet and philosopher. He wrote passionately about the equality, freedom and brotherhood. He is regarded as one of the most significant dramatists and lyricists of German language.
Schiller (1759-1805) was born in Marbach, a town in southwest Germany. The original Schiller Monument created by Ernst Rau has stood in the writer's birthplace since 1876. The Schiller Monument in Chicago is cast from the original monument.
In the 1880's Chicago had a sizable German population. The German community in Chicago wanted to honor Schiller - the most important German playwright and poet. A committee of German immigrants raised money to install the monument. The committee hired William Pelargus, an artist from Stuttgard, Germany, to recast Rau's original Schiller Monument. The committee also contacted with Lake View marble cutter John Gail to create the granite base for the monument.
On May 18, 1886, the Schiller Monument was unveiled in Lincoln Park in front of a huge gathering. Mayor Carter Harrison and William Rapp, editor of Staats-Zeitung, made speeches at the occasion.
Schiller Monument was the first of many monuments in Chicago that have been donated by the immigrant groups to honor historical figures from their homeland.
In 1913, another German novelist, playwright, poet and statesman was honored, when Johann Wolgang von Gothe monument was erected in Lincoln Park.
Interestingly Gothe and Schiller had a remarkable friendship that was "Like no other known to literature or art." Both of them lived in Weimar and were central figures in German literary and cultural movement known as Weimar Classicism.