New Monument Planned For President Born In Denison - - No One Gets You Closer

New Monument Planned For President Born In Denison


DENISON, TX -- Drivers on Highway 75 in Grayson County have grown familiar with the monument to President Eisenhower. Now, a much larger memorial is taking shape in the nation's capital.

Plans are moving forward to honor a president who spent his first 18 months in Denison, though he didn't remember them. "He was confused, but eventually his mother set him straight," says Texas Historical Commission employee Chris Crawley from the Eisenhower Birthplace.

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts recently approved a monument to President Dwight Eisenhower on the National Mall.

Eisenhower's father was an engine wiper for the MKT Railroad, who moved the family back to Abilene, Kan., in 1892, to work at a creamery, Crawley said.

The monument, designed by architect Frank Gehry, will go in front of the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C.

"Our world would have been totally different if he wasn't the supreme commander and we had not had the success that we did," says Don Banman, who planned the memorial on Highway 75.

The commission members voted 3-1 to approve the general layout for the new monument. They suggested Gehry remove two smaller side tapestries and use only one as a backdrop, in order to reduce the number of huge stone columns in the design.

Banman says a huge statue of Sam Houston on Interstate 45 in Huntsville gave him the idea for the monument on Highway 75 that was dedicated two years ago.

He says the bust itself cost $30,000, but the nation's ode to Ike could cost more than $100 million.

"I think it shows an unusual view of a politician who had the humility to understand people," says Banman.

A letter posted online from Eisenhower's family members from last year says they opposed the focus on his boyhood in Kansas, and that it relied on computer technology that will require ongoing maintenance.

However the monument takes shape, some say it will help remember a leader from a unique era. "He was president during the 1950s. Post-World War II. A lot of changes were taking place at that time and a lot of the world was rebuilding," says Crawley.