The Lincoln Memorial Shrine

The Lincoln Memorial Shrine The Lincoln Memorial Shrine is a museum/research facility dedicated to Abraham Lincoln & the Civil War. Free admission. Admission to The Lincoln Memorial Shrine is free.
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The Lincoln Memorial Shrine is open Tuesday through Sunday from 1-5 pm. History of the Shrine The Lincoln Memorial Shrine was originally designed in an octagon shape by noted Southern California architect Elmer Grey in 1932. The construction of reinforced concrete was faced with Bedford Indiana limestone plates upon which are inscribed excerpts from Lincoln's speeches. Although the original plan called for 75 foot long patio wings to extend from each side of the Shrine, complete with fountains, benches, and additional inscriptions, it was not until 1937 that these areas were added. The additions were crafted from the same material used in the octagon with the Indiana limestone selected to match before leaving the quarry. As originally planned, these patio areas featured additional excerpts from Lincoln's speeches inscribed into the walls and fountains designed by noted American sculptor Merrill Gage. Robert Watchorn had always desired to expand his facility, but the lingering effects of the Great Depression followed by the start of World War II caused him to postpone his plans. In 1944 Watchorn passed away his dreams unfulfilled. On February 12, 1998, Watchorn's desire for an enlarged facility was realized when the newly expanded Shrine was rededicated. After four and a half years of fundraising two new wings were added to the original octagon where the patio areas had been located. The design called for moving the fountain and pool areas forward. Careful removal and repositioning of the limestone panels, and the selection of new materials have created a harmonious blend of new wings with original octagon. The interior of the Shrine features bookcases from Circassian walnut in the original octagon. The woodwork in the new wings was chosen to complement the original furnishings. To learn more about Robert Watchorn and why there is a museum to Lincoln in Redlands, California, visit the Notes Tab.

Operating as usual

Remembering Frederick Douglass’ escape from slaveryFrederick Douglass escaped from slavery on September 3, 1838, aided b...
09/03/2020

Remembering Frederick Douglass’ escape from slavery

Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery on September 3, 1838, aided by a disguise and job skills he had learned while forced to work in Baltimore's shipyards.

Douglass posed as a sailor when he grabbed a train in Baltimore that was headed to Philadelphia. He was also given papers from a freed black sailor to help in the journey.

"My knowledge of ships and sailor's talk came much to my assistance, for I knew a ship from stem to stern, and from keelson to cross-trees, and could talk sailor like an 'old salt,'” he later said in his autobiography.

Once Douglass made the harrowing train trip to Philadelphia he was able to move on to New York City.

"My free life began on the third of September, 1838. On the morning of the fourth of that month, after an anxious and most perilous but safe journey, I found myself in the big city of New York, a free man - one more added to the mighty throng which, like the confused waves of the troubled sea, surged to and fro between the lofty walls of Broadway,” he said.

The anniversary is also an occasion to note the 2013 publication of “TransAtlantic” by Colum McCann, who won the National Book Award for his previous novel “Let The Great World Spin.”

“TransAtlantic” is a lyrical novel about stories cutting across time, in Canada, Ireland, and the United States—and about how, as McCann’s website describes, “the most unassuming moments of grace have a way of rippling through time, space, and memory.”

National Public Radio reported that “TransAtlantic” was inspired by McCann learning that, in 1845, when Douglass was only 27 and still a slave, he went to Ireland to raise money for his anti-slavery campaign and to stir support for abolition. (This 1988 senior thesis at Yale tells more about that history.)

McCann told the NewsHour: “The real is imagined, in the sense that we shape our stories, so anything that even happens on the news gets shaped in a certain way and gets a texture …” He went on, “what I'm interested in is how the small anonymous moments, they can enter into the large narrative of the bigger, more public moments,” including when Frederick Douglass went to Ireland.

Source: National Constitution Center

This Day in History, August 20, 1963:"I had a dream."On August 28, 1963, more than 200,000 people, black and white, gath...
08/28/2020

This Day in History, August 20, 1963:
"I had a dream."

On August 28, 1963, more than 200,000 people, black and white, gathered in the nation’s capital to urge Congress to pass President John F. Kennedy’s civil rights bill, which prohibited racial discrimination in public places, employment, and education.

The daylong celebration of speeches, songs, and prayers climaxed with an address by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., who spoke from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial:

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. . . . I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today! . . . And so let freedom ring . . . from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi – from every mountainside. Let freedom ring. And when this happens – when we allow freedom to ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children – black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics – will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Rarely can it be said that speeches change things. But King’s “I have a dream” speech, one of the greatest in the nation’s history, helped secure passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The speech helped change millions of hearts and minds. It changes things still.

Source: American Patriot's Daily Almanac

The Lincoln-Douglas DebatesAugust 21, 1858, brought the first of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates in Illinois between ...
08/21/2020

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates

August 21, 1858, brought the first of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates in Illinois between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, both running for the U.S. Senate. There were seven debates in all, the first in the town of Ottawa, and they set the prairies ablaze as people flocked by the thousands to see the tall, lanky Lincoln match wits with the short, square-shouldered, broad-chested Douglas.

The debates centered on the question of whether slavery should be allowed to expand into U.S. territories. Douglas, a famous sitting senator, argued that the people of each territory should decide whether to allow slavery in their land. Lincoln opposed any expansion of slavery, which he regarded as a “moral, social, and political wrong.” In the final debate Lincoln argued:

That is the issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal struggle between two principles. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same spirit that says, “You toil and work and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.” No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.

Newspapers across the country followed the debates, and although Lincoln lost the Senate race to Douglas, his careful arguments helped turn him from a relatively obscure prairie lawyer into a national figure. The Lincoln-Douglas debates were the most important since the ratification of the Constitution. Lincoln showed a mastery of the law, philosophy, and history that raised him above not only Douglas but ultimately every other statesman of the age.

Tomorrow! Census 2020: Every Voice Counts Zoom WorkshopThursday, August 20, 2020, at 10 AM – 11 AMThe A.K. Smiley Public...
08/19/2020
Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: Census 2020. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

Tomorrow! Census 2020: Every Voice Counts Zoom Workshop
Thursday, August 20, 2020, at 10 AM – 11 AM

The A.K. Smiley Public Library has partnered with the League of Women Voters of the San Bernardino Area to present an online Zoom workshop about the 2020 US Census. Join us on Thursday, August 20, 2020, at 10 am. Bring your questions and concerns. The workshop will be recorded and shared on the A.K. Smiley Public Library page.

The State of California has only had a 65% response rate to the 2020 Census. The Census is more than a population count. It’s an opportunity to shape your community’s future. Census results determine how many seats each state gets in Congress. The results are also used to improve communities by supporting schools, emergency services, social services, freeways, roads, and bridges.

Federal law keeps your census answers strictly confidential. You will not be asked about your citizenship status or political affiliation. Your answers can never be used against you in any way.

This virtual workshop will answer all your questions about the census. Register today!

Registration link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_n8orVGTqRvGkA2taVhp1iA

Learn about the importance of the Census and how to make sure you and your family get counted.

Census 2020: Every Voice Counts Zoom WorkshopThursday, August 20, 2020, at 10 AM – 11 AMThe A.K. Smiley Public Library h...
08/18/2020
Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: Census 2020. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

Census 2020: Every Voice Counts Zoom Workshop
Thursday, August 20, 2020, at 10 AM – 11 AM

The A.K. Smiley Public Library has partnered with the League of Women Voters of the San Bernardino Area to present an online Zoom workshop about the 2020 US Census. Join us on Thursday, August 20, 2020, at 10 am. Bring your questions and concerns. The workshop will be recorded and shared on the A.K. Smiley Public Library page.

The State of California has only had a 65% response rate to the 2020 Census. The Census is more than a population count. It’s an opportunity to shape your community’s future. Census results determine how many seats each state gets in Congress. The results are also used to improve communities by supporting schools, emergency services, social services, freeways, roads, and bridges.

Federal law keeps your census answers strictly confidential. You will not be asked about your citizenship status or political affiliation. Your answers can never be used against you in any way.

This virtual workshop will answer all your questions about the census. Register today!

Registration link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_n8orVGTqRvGkA2taVhp1iA

Learn about the importance of the Census and how to make sure you and your family get counted.

Five little-known men who almost became presidentWhat do Benjamin Wade, Willie P. Mangum, Lafayette S. Foster, Thomas W....
08/13/2020

Five little-known men who almost became president

What do Benjamin Wade, Willie P. Mangum, Lafayette S. Foster, Thomas W. Ferry, and John Nance Garner all have in common? If not for a last-second decision, or a twist of fate, they might have become Acting President of the United States, in an era before the 25th Amendment was ratified.

This week is the anniversary of Vice President Gerald Ford’s ascension to the presidency in 1974 after Richard Nixon’s resignation. But without the 25th Amendment, it would have been Carl Albert, and not Ford, in the White House.

To paraphrase a term President Ford used when he pardoned Nixon, the 25th Amendment’s ratification in 1967 ended “our long national nightmare” about the rules of presidential succession.

The 25th Amendment allows a President to appoint a Vice President in the case of a vacancy, with the approval of Congress. The idea gained momentum after President John F. Kennedy’s death in 1963 when Lyndon Johnson served out the remainder of Kennedy’s term without his own Vice President.

The 25th Amendment also clears up any questions about the Vice President’s ability to succeed a President who dies in office, resigns, or is removed from office. It also provides guidelines for how the President, Vice President, Congress, and the cabinet can deal with situations when a President is temporarily or permanently unable to discharge his or her duties.

Until 1967, the succession rules were based on a loosely defined Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution; a precedent set by President (or Acting President, as his opponents believed) John Tyler in 1841; and presidential succession acts passed by Congress that named the next-in-line to the White House after the President and Vice President.

The office of Vice President has been vacant 18 times because of the deaths of eight Presidents and seven Vice Presidents in office, two vice presidential resignations, and one presidential resignation. So in several hypothetical cases, someone other than the Vice President might have assumed the duties of the President if an assassination attempt, an accident, or a constitutional problem led to a presidential vacancy. A few examples are below:

● Willie P. Mangum. If Mangum’s name doesn’t seem familiar, that’s because he was the Senate president pro tempore in 1844. Between 1792 and 1886, the president pro tempore was second-in-line to the White House, after the Vice President.

After the passing of President William Henry Harrison in 1841, Tyler assumed the presidency by boldly declaring he was entitled to the full power and title of President. Although Tyler had been Harrison’s Vice President, the issue of succession wasn’t clearly spelled out in the Constitution—whether the Vice President would simply act as President for a period in case of the President’s death or resignation, or whether the Vice President then became the actual President.

But Tyler himself was nearly killed in a shipboard explosion in 1844. President Tyler was stopped by a dignitary on his way up to a deck to witness a naval gun display on the USS Princeton. The gun exploded, killing the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Navy instead. Had Tyler died, Magnum would have become President since the office of Vice President was vacant.

● Lafayette S. Foster. Foster was the Senate president pro tempore in 1865 when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Part of the plot to kill Lincoln included an assassination attempt on Vice President Andrew Johnson.

John Wilkes Booth had convinced George Atzerodt to kill Johnson at a hotel where the Vice President was staying. Atzerodt camped out in a room above Johnson’s room, but he decided on that fateful night to abandon the attempt, and he went out drinking instead.

Atzerodt was executed in July 1865 for his role in the conspiracy. Had he killed the unsuspecting Johnson, Foster would have been Acting President, until an election could be held to choose a new President in December 1865.

● Benjamin Wade. It was Wade who had replaced Foster as Senate president pro tempore by 1868 when President Andrew Johnson was impeached by the House and put on trial in the Senate.

One of the theories about how Johnson escaped a guilty verdict by one vote in the Senate was that there was a contingent of Senators who didn’t want Wade, a Radical Republican, as Acting President since the office of Vice President was vacant.

Said one newspaper at the time, “Andrew Johnson is innocent because Ben Wade is guilty of being his successor.”

● Thomas W. Ferry. Ferry’s brush with the presidency was more of a theoretical one, but all too real under the election laws of 1876.

In that contentious presidential election, the Democratic candidate, Samuel Tilden, won the popular vote against Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, but the electoral vote was in dispute.

Different sets of electors were submitted by three states that would decide the election. Since there wasn’t a constitutional fix for the problem, Congress appointed a 15-person commission, including five Supreme Court Justices, to settle the disputed race. The commission ruled in favor of Hayes just two days before the inauguration. The votes were approved in Congress at 4:10 a.m. on March 2.

Ferry was the Senate president pro tempore at the time and would have been the Acting President if the Electoral College vote wasn’t certified on March 4, 1877. In fact, Ferry may have believed he was President for one day since he was unaware that Hayes took the presidential oath in private on March 4, a Sunday.

● John Nance Garner. Garner almost became President under the terms of a constitutional amendment ratified just weeks before an assassination attempt on President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933.

The 20th Amendment was ratified on January 23, 1933, and it made provisions for the Vice President-elect—in this case, Garner—to assume the presidency if the President-elect died before taking the oath of office.

On February 15, 1933, just 23 days after the amendment went into force, assassin Giuseppe Zangara opened fire on a car in Miami that contained President-elect Roosevelt. He missed Roosevelt but fatally wounded Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak.

Garner was a conservative Southern Democrat who wound up opposing Roosevelt’s New Deal programs. He also would have sought to replace Roosevelt as President in 1940 if FDR hadn’t decided to run for a third term. Garner was ultimately replaced on the ticket by Henry Wallace.

Image: From left to right: Mangum, Foster, Wade, Ferry, Garner

Source: National Constitution Center

Blame Abraham Lincoln for the nation’s first national Income Tax Most people aren’t big fans of a national income tax, b...
08/06/2020

Blame Abraham Lincoln for the nation’s first national Income Tax

Most people aren’t big fans of a national income tax, but it was on this day back in 1861 that the first one was levied by the new President, Abraham Lincoln. It only lasted 10 years, and many people thought it would never return.

But after years of arguing and a few court battles, the federal income tax we all know returned for good in 1913, with the ratification of the 16th Amendment.

Lincoln’s national income tax was a direct reaction to the military needs of the Civil War, and he could only tax the northern states. He was also able to impose the tax without passing a constitutional amendment.

After asking his cabinet if the income tax was constitutional, Lincoln met with Congress in a special joint session on July 4, 1861, to hammer out the details of the tax law.

Lincoln’s cabinet and fellow Republicans had determined that since it did not tax property directly, the income tax was an indirect tax, and it was not subject to Article I of the Constitution, which said that direct taxes must be apportioned according to the population of each state.

Lincoln signed The Revenue Act of 1861 on August 5, 1861, and it taxed imports, provided for a direct land tax, and imposed a tax of 3 percent on individual incomes over $800 (which, in current dollars, is about $18,000). The bill fell far short of its goals. There wasn’t an effective way to collect the taxes, and the 3 percent income tax only applied, ironically, to 3 percent of the population in the north.

The laws were overhauled in the more-extensive Revenue Act of 1862, which created the agency that later became known as the Internal Revenue Service and levied the first progressive income tax on Americans. The new act also had hefty taxes on alcohol and tobacco products. More income tax brackets and higher tax rates were added in 1864, with the tax law expiring during the Reconstruction period after the Civil War.

The Revenue Act of 1864 did survive a Supreme Court challenge when in Springer v. United States a unanimous Court said that the Civil War income tax was constitutional. But when Congress passed a national income tax in 1894, it was ruled unconstitutional the following year by the Supreme Court in Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Company.

A divided court in Pollock said it was a direct tax not apportioned according to the population of each state, in violation of Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution. After the Pollock decision, it took Congress and at least 36 states to make the income tax legal via the 16th Amendment. By 1913, when the amendment was ratified, the average income had risen to $800, which was the taxable rate back in 1861.

And for the record, the Confederacy also had a version of an income tax, which wasn’t as effective as the Union tax system. Its lawmakers approved an income tax measure in 1863 as a graduated income tax. It exempted wages up to $1,000, levied a 1 percent tax on the first $1,500 over the exemption, and 2 percent on all additional income. But the Confederacy didn’t have an established system to collect taxes.

Source: National Constitution Center

Address

125 W Vine St
Redlands, CA
92373

General information

The Lincoln Memorial Shrine is a unit of the Special Collections Division of A.K. Smiley Public Library. Admission is free. The Watchorm Lincoln Memorial Association, a 501 (c)3 tax deductible organization oversees the WLMA endowment. Contact Us E-MAIL: [email protected] PHONE: 909-798-7632 PHONE: 909-798-7636 FAX: 909-798-7566 Curator: Nathan D. Gonzales, PhD Private tours can be arranged for groups of 12 or more people for your organization or school group between the hours of 9:00 am and noon by contacting the Heritage Room at 909-798-7632

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The Lincoln Memorial Shrine

The Lincoln Memorial Shrine 125 W. Vine Street Redlands, CA 92373 Admission to The Lincoln Memorial Shrine is free. The Lincoln Memorial Shrine is open Tuesday through Sunday from 1-5 pm.

The Lincoln Memorial Shrine is located in historic downtown Redlands, CA., behind the A.K. Smiley Public Library in Smiley Park.

The Lincoln Memorial Shrine is a unit of the Special Collections Division of the A.K. Smiley Public Library. The Watchorn Lincoln Memorial Association, a 501 (c)3 tax deductible organization oversees the WLMA endowment. E-MAIL: [email protected] PHONE: 909-798-7632 or 909-798-7636 FAX: 909-798-7566 Curator: Nathan D. Gonzales, PhD

The History of the Lincoln Memorial Shrine

The Lincoln Memorial Shrine was originally designed in an octagon shape by noted Southern California architect Elmer Grey in 1932. The construction of reinforced concrete was faced with Bedford Indiana limestone plates upon which are inscribed excerpts from Lincoln's speeches.

Private tours can be arranged for groups of 12 or more people for your organization or school group between the hours of 9:00 am and noon by contacting the Heritage Room at 909-798-7632

Although the original plan called for 75-foot long patio wings to extend from each side of the Shrine, complete with fountains, benches, and additional inscriptions, it was not until 1937 that these areas were added. The additions were crafted from the same material used in the octagon with the Indiana limestone selected to match before leaving the quarry. As originally planned, these patio areas featured additional excerpts from Lincoln's speeches inscribed into the walls and fountains designed by noted American sculptor Merrill Gage. Robert Watchorn had always desired to expand his facility, but the lingering effects of the Great Depression followed by the start of World War II caused him to postpone his plans. In 1944 Watchorn passed away his dreams unfulfilled.

On February 12, 1998, Watchorn's desire for an enlarged facility was realized when the newly expanded Shrine was rededicated. After four and a half years of fundraising two new wings were added to the original octagon where the patio areas had been located. The design called for moving the fountain and pool areas forward. Careful removal and repositioning of the limestone panels and the selection of new materials have created a harmonious blend of new wings with the original octagon.

The interior of the Shrine features bookcases from Circassian walnut in the original octagon. The woodwork in the new wings was chosen to complement the original furnishings.

A Lincoln Museum in Redlands

Perhaps the most frequently asked question by visitors to the Lincoln Memorial Shrine is “Why is there a Lincoln museum in Redlands, California?” The answer lies in the remarkable life of part-time Redlands resident, Robert Watchorn. Born into the working class of Alfreton, England in 1858, Robert Watchorn was forced by his family’s poverty to begin work in the region’s coal mines at the tender age of 11. Watchorn endured eighteen-hour shifts in dangerous conditions for the meager wage of 27 cents a day. In 1880, Watchorn immigrated to America, where he found work in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. As a new American, Watchorn quickly became fascinated with the dramatic story of Abraham Lincoln, who had been martyred at the moment of his greatest triumph, just 15 years before. Watchorn saw in Lincoln the personification of the “American dream,” the ability to improve your circumstances if you are willing to study hard, work diligently, and apply yourself. Lincoln himself labeled this phenomenon “the right to rise.”

Like Lincoln, Watchorn knew education was the key to advancement. He organized a night school for miners and became involved in the early American labor movement, culminating with his election as the first secretary of the United Mine Workers union. His efforts caught the attention of Pennsylvania’s governor, Robert Pattison, who appointed him the Inspector of Factories and Mines in 1891. Among Watchorn’s achievements was successfully ending the scourge of child labor in the state.

Careers in Immigration and Oil

Governor Pattison was then able to secure Watchorn a position in the United States Immigration Service. In 1905, President Roosevelt appointed him Commissioner of Immigration at Ellis Island in New York City’s harbor. Watchorn worked to ease the burden of those awaiting processing into America. In 1909, newly elected president William Howard Taft dismissed Watchorn for his pro-immigration stance. Watchorn joined the Union Oil Company as its treasurer. His own wildcatting attempts proved highly successful and he amassed a fortune with the Watchorn Oil and Gas Company. When Watchorn acquired the financial resources, he began purchasing books, artifacts, and manuscripts associated with Lincoln’s life and times. An admirer of the community of Redlands, he chose the town for his winter home. A highly devout man, Mr. Watchorn gave freely of his wealth: chimes for churches in Redlands, Los Angeles, and La Crescenta; housing and a park in his hometown of Alfreton; and Watchorn Hall at the University of Redlands.

A Family and The Great War

Watchorn was a devoted family man. He married Alma Jessica Simpson in Ohio in 1891. They had two sons, Robert Jr., who died in infancy, and Emory Ewart, who was born in New York City in 1895. Emory Ewart graduated from Hollywood High School in Hollywood, CA in 1913. Watchorn shared his admiration for Lincoln with his only surviving child. A frequent visitor with his parents to Europe, Emory was trapped in Germany for a brief period of time in 1914 when the conflict that would become known as the Great War broke out. Sharing his father’s affinity for Great Britain, the young Watchorn looked forward to American involvement in the war. In the summer of 1916, he completed officers’ training at Monterey, CA. When President Woodrow Wilson convinced Congress to declare war on Germany in April of 1917 “in order to make the world safe for democracy,” Emory Ewart volunteered for the US Army Air Service. After completing ground training at Berkeley, CA, he sailed aboard the SS Aquitania for Europe. Before entraining for his final destination in Italy, he was able to enjoy a ten-day leave in Paris. In a letter later published in the LA Times, he wrote, “Paris is like the smile on the face of the badly wounded.”

The Italian Front in World War I witnessed incredible suffering. After three years of bloody trench warfare with Germany and Austria, Italy was on the verge of suing for peace. Italy’s allies, Great Britain, France, and the United States, rushed in reinforcements to bolster Italian morale. Included among these reinforcements was a contingent of several hundred American pilot trainees, under the command of then congressman, later New York mayor, Fiorello La Guardia. Although her army was not enjoying much success, Italy’s strategic aviation was widely regarded as being the best in the world in 1917. In particular, the tri-motor Caproni biplane bomber was highly respected. The United States, by comparison, had no military aviation and despite expending millions of dollars, not a single American-produced aircraft would see service in the war. What America did have was tens of thousands of eager volunteers, including twenty-one-year-old Emory Ewart Watchorn.

Heroic Deeds

After months of flight training in Foggia, Lt. Watchorn received his gold Royal Italian Air Force wings in the summer of 1918 and was assigned to the 13th Aero Squadron. Based in Padua, Lt. Watchorn and his Italian comrades flew day and night bombing missions against Austrian airfields, railroad yards, and troop concentrations. On a night mission, Lt. Watchorn’s center engine was hit by anti-aircraft fire. He would receive a commendation for coolly executing a perfect emergency landing, saving his crew and the plane. The arduous flying conditions, open cockpits, and extreme cold took a toll on his health. Soon after Armistice Day, he contracted a severe case of pneumonia. He recovered, however, and returned to California in triumph. Two years later, a recurrence of his health problems developed into blood-poisoning. After a two month struggle, Emory Ewart died at the age of 25 on July 10, 1921. Robert and Alma were devastated by the loss of their only surviving child and always felt that his death was a direct result of his service to his country.

Memorial for a Fallen Son

Seeking a way to memorialize their fallen son, the Watchorns eventually settled on the concept of building the Lincoln Memorial Shrine in their winter home of Redlands. That vision became reality in 1932 when the one-room octagonal building opened. In 1937, fountains and limestone walls bearing Lincoln quotations were added to the octagon. Over the following decades, an ever-increasing wealth of acquisitions required additional space. Thanks to the generosity of Lincoln and Civil War enthusiasts throughout Southern California, more than one million dollars was raised and in 1998, two beautiful wings were added to the original octagon.

It is a unique facility – the only such museum and archive west of the Mississippi River dedicated solely to the study of Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War. By placing the Shrine in his adopted home of Redlands, Watchorn knew this monument of ideals would be available to the increasing number of people moving into Southern California. It was “accessible yet secluded,” he said.

A Lasting Gift

Robert Watchorn desired that his Lincoln Memorial Shrine serve as a place where visitors would be inspired by the life and accomplishments of the man judged by many to be the greatest of all Americans. It is an institution that caters to visitors ranging from the average elementary school student to the nationally recognized historian. The great Lincoln scholar Jay Monaghan said, upon his visit to the Shrine in 1940, that “Lincoln is all things to all men.” Each of us approaches the memory of Lincoln in our own singular way. Lincoln is the “common property of each individual,” another biographer wrote. For the community of Redlands and for the greater region of Southern California, that “property” is a gift from Robert Watchorn.

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“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedom, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Lincoln Great quote, Vaudville is city of Waldo and the first tradesmen of the reform before the reformers of Calvin and Besze and his links to US have not always been friendly.