Controversial plans to have the names of the states of Alaska and Hawaii chiseled onto the Lincoln Memorial, or to have fountains or flag poles erected in their honor near it, have been vetoed by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC).
Instead the federal planning agency last week unanimously endorsed the placing of a simple bronze plaque to "commemorate" the two newest states. Such a plaque had been proposed by the National Park Service and several advisory federal agencies, including the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
Congressmen from Hawaii and Alaska had pressed for more than a decade to have their state's names appear on or at the memorial.
In 1976 a congressional resolution ordered the Park Service to commemorate the two states in some way at the Lincoln Memorial.
Last year the Commission of Fine Arts recommended to NCPC that the names of the states be chiseled onto the monument. But the Fine Arts Commission last week reversed that recommendation in order to fall in line with the NCPC position on the matter.
The American Institute of Architects had opposed any changes or new inscriptions on the memorial as a kind of graffiti that would desecrate the nation's most visited and revered monument.
Like many federal buildings, the memorial was inscribed with the names of the 48 states existing at the time of the building's completion in 1922. In addition, the name of the 36 states in the United States at the time of Lincoln's death appear above the memorial's 36 columns.
Final design and plans for the plaque and its location will be reviewed by NCPC, Fine Arts and other agencies in the near future.