‘This Place of Silence’ Spotlight: Harding Memorial

‘This Place of Silence’ Spotlight: Harding Memorial

HARDING MEMORIAL, MARION COUNTY

Our new book ‘This Place of Silence’ highlights numerous significant historical moments. One notable example is the Harding Memorial, the last of the grand presidential monuments.

Photographed by my collaborator Randall L. Schieber, the Harding Tomb stands as a majestic memorial to the 29th President of the United States, Warren G. Harding, and his wife, Florence. Designed to resemble a Greek temple, this grand tomb marks a historical era of grand presidential memorials.

Harding Tomb, Marion National Cemetery, Marion County, Marion, Ohio. © Randall L. Schieber
 

Greek Symbolism

Constructed between 1926 and 1927, the Harding Tomb was envisioned as the last of the truly grandiose presidential tombs, a tradition of elaborate final resting places for the nation’s leaders. Its design draws heavily on classical Greek architectural styles, featuring a circular marble colonnade of Doric-era (750–480 BC) columns—a symbol of democratic ideals.

A Historical Perspective

Warren G. Harding’s presidency was marred by controversies such as the Teapot Dome scandal, but it also saw significant national achievements such as the creation of the post-World War I Veterans Bureau. His sudden death from a heart attack in 1923, while still in office shocked the nation and led to an outpouring of public grief.

Initially, President Harding and his wife were temporarily entombed in a receiving vault at the nearby Marion Cemetery. In 1927, their remains were reinterred in the specially built sarcophagus at the newly completed tomb. However, it was not until 1931, four years later, that the tomb was officially dedicated, marking a formal closure to the mourning period.

Harding Tomb, Marion National Cemetery, Marion County, Marion, Ohio. © Randall L. Schieber

The Harding Memorial in Marion County is more than just a burial site. It is a reminder of an era in American history characterized by both progress and challenge. As the last of the grand presidential tombs, it captures the transition from monumental tributes to more modest presidential memorials, reflecting a broader shift in public memory and historical commemoration. 

This Place of Silence,’ our latest book project, is currently seeking support on Kickstarter through May 10th. Join us in bringing this unique story to life by contributing to our campaign today. Your support can make all the difference!

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This Place of Silence

  • Softcover photography book
  • 264 pages
  • Over 240+ full-color photographs
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