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Civil War Pylon [Plaster]


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Civil War Pylon [Plaster]


Figure sculpture, American--20th century


Civil War Pylon, 1950
Plaster original

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall M. Fredericks

The Victory Eagle on the facade of the Veterans Memorial Building in Detroit is 30 feet high and projects 4-½ feet from the wall in high relief. The museum displays the quarter-scale version and two of the seven free-standing pylons originally placed in front of the building along the walkway leading to the entrance. The pylons were later moved next to the building parallel to the facade. Twenty feet high and carved with incised relief, they depict scenes from important events in the city's history. Here, the Founding of Detroit Pylon and Civil War Pylon frame either side of The Victory Eagle.


Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998




Use of this image requires permission from the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum




University Center (Mich.)

Sculpture Item Type Metadata

Physical Dimensions

204" x 37.5"


Plaster full-scale

Catalog Number


Object Location

Main Exhibit Gallery


03/22/1989 gifted to MFSM


On the right, the Civil War Pylon shows Abraham Lincoln parting the North and South. Below are Generals Grant and Lee. The Founding of Detroit Pylon on the left depicts the French explorer, Antione de la Mothe de Cadillac, who founded Detroit in 1701. Below Cadillac is Father Gabriel Richard who made important contributions to the early spiritual, educational and cultural life of Detroit. Other pylons include Indian Wars, Battle of the Great Lakes, Spanish-American War, Battle of Lake Erie, War of 1812, WWII, and the Peace pylon. The Peace pylon is engraved, "In the hearts of all mankind is the Eternal Hope for Universal Peace."

Fredericks stated about the Victory Eagle:
"The problem was to take a natural object, one especially familiar to everyone, and simplify it in form to something almost architectural in quality, absolutely abstract in form and line, to tie in with the masses and character of the building, yet retain the character and meaning of the natural object. Also, it was necessary to indicate power and motion of the eagle, still make it an integral part of the marble wall, solid yet mobile; an architectural entity, and yet imbue it with the spirit of life."

As a result of this sculpture, Fredericks was awarded the American Institute of Arts Medal in 1952, a distinction awarded only five times between 1914 and 1998. In 1953, he was awarded an honorary life membership in the Michigan Society of Architects as the first sculptor to be honored by them.

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