Arlington National Cemetery, Old Amphitheater, Arlington, Arlington County, VA
Significance: In 1868, General John Logan from the Headquarters of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) declared May 30th a day of remembrance for Union soldiers who had died in the Civil War. President Johnson supported this order by allowing federal employees to take a day of leave to attend the ceremonies. Thus, the first Memorial Day ceremony was held on May 30, 1868, taking place about 100 yards west of the Lee Mansion. Temporary stands were set up for the President and speakers and a separate one for the Marine Corps band. In 1873, the elliptical brick and wood pergola now known as the Old Amphitheater was built on the same site. Designed by Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs, the pergola is architecturally significant as a prominent garden structure of the nineteenth century. The Memorial Day procession concluded at the Amphitheater for speeches by renowned political and military leaders. By the early 1900s the Old Amphitheater was unable to accommodate the growing number of participants, which led to the construction of a larger ceremonial structure, the Memorial Amphitheater, dedicated in 1920.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N180
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N2180
Survey number: HABS VA-1348-A
Building/structure dates: 1873 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1880 Subsequent Work
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 14000146