Saturday, December 3, 2011

Monumental Climb

Looking up at the south side of the Monument from it's base. It has been decorated
for the Christmas season with strands of lights. At night the lights resemble
a Christmas tree, with the statue of Victory serving as its "topper."

On Thursday, I went back to the Indianapolis Soldiers' 
and Sailors' Monument because I wanted to see 
downtown from the monument's viewing platform. 
A visitor has a choice whether they want to climb the 
narrow stairs to the top, 285 feet away, or ride the tiny elevator. 
I considered climbing the stairs, but the steps are unfriendly, 
with risers that are too steep for middle-aged knees.

Once inside, I actually found the interior of the Monument 
more interesting than the views. The stairs are narrow, barely wide 
enough for one person to use at a time; just before I left, 
I heard another woman get out of the elevator and waited for her 
at the top, as the stairwell was not wide enough for both of us.
I really liked the textured surface, hammered into 
the stone so long ago when the structure was built.

The elevator does not go all the way to the top,
requiring the visitor walk up another three stories,
using the narrow, steep staircase. When I emerged from the 
stairwell onto the platform, the first thing I noticed was
the red-painted orb which seems to serve as the central
point for a reinforcement system for the Monument.  

Pairs of steel bars have been installed in the walls, 
with two pair on each of the walls, extending the entire 
length of the structure. Unfortunately, there was no one available 
to explain the bars' exact function. I assume that they are meant
to control any shift or skew in the monument, say, due to
high winds or earthquakes.  

Shown below is one of the views from the platform, looking west
along Market Street towards the State Capitol Building.
The building center foreground is the Test Building, one of the first 
structures built for combined use as office space and 
automobile parking; the large blue rectangle is the 
J. W. Marriott Hotel; the blue speck just to the left of the 
Capitol dome is the Indianapolis Zoo, while the two parallel
beige lines are the old Washington Street Bridge, now part
of the River Promenade.

Looking west from the Monument, along Market Street
towards the State Capitol Building.

Revisiting the pigeon hat, um, hat. 
The street fowl warming itself on the statue
seems relaxed, oblivious to the fact that a pair of 
peregrine falcons use Victory as a perch,
from which they scope out unsuspecting pigeons
to become their next tasty treat.


dive said...

Totally awesome post, Speedway!
It's a beautiful monument to a noble and self-sacrificing group of people, but as you say, it is even better inside.
What a stunning piece of work! Great photos, too. You're right about the tension bars; that column will move a lot in high winds and the bars help keep it steady (and upright) by counteracting the forces just like your legs do on board a boat. For a similar reason many mediæval spires had massive tree trunks hung inside them from the top.
I love the house built on top of the Test Building. Cool and fun. What a great view of the city, too. What a vast place it is.
Wonderful stuff!

Scout said...

How cool. What a great idea to show us the guts of a monument—I would not have guessed how it was built, but good that Dive helped clarify.

Speedway said...

Thank you, Dive, both for your generous compliment and the additional info to help my foggy bit of explanation. I did think it was funny that I went up to take pictures of the buildings surrounding the Monument, but found the view rather boring. It could have been the time of day (Noon) which made the surroundings seem bland, but I found myself caught up in the texture of the walls and the system of steel bars.

The red ball with the threaded bars coming out at first made me think that Sputnik had, in fact, defected and had found a second career in the top of the column.

I could see it was adjustable because of the turnbuckles and threads, as well as those hex connectors on the vertical bars and the jointed bars (kind of like elbow joints). So... can it be realigned, if needed, as the monument settles over the years?

Hi, Robyn. Thank you for your kind words. The buildings, it turns out, are more interesting from the ground, where one can see their structure and details; from up top it was pretty bland and did not compare to what I found beside me.

dive said...

Yes, the whole structure can be re-tensioned as required. A splendid piece of engineering and long-term thinking.