Mr. Smith’s American Acropolis

Washington would be a capital of Egyptian pillars and Roman splendor if this hardware merchant’s grandiose plan had been adopted

In 1900 the United States had an inferiority complex. It had come of age in practical affairs. It had developed, as Mr. Franklin W. Smith of Boston pointed out in his Petition to Congress, the world’s best form of government. For a century its energies and skills and intelligence had been devoted to material development, to the creation of mines, factories, transcontinental railroads, and tunnels under the Hudson. But the nation that had built palaces of business and mansions for luxurious living had erected no temple of culture.

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