Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery & Memorial is the largest overseas American cemetery administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), a federal agency created in 1923 to oversee improvements at the eight overseas cemeteries established by the War Department after World War I. Prominent French-born American architect Paul P. Cret served as consulting architect for all the ABMC World War I commemoration projects. The distinguished New York architectural firm of York & Sawyer, with principal architect Louis Ayres, was given the commission for designing the chapel, new entrance pylons, and a revised site plan at Meuse-Argonne Cemetery. Construction took place in 1928-32, starting with the Romanesque Revival chapel and then landscape improvements including new entrance features and terraced steps.
Documentation of Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery & Memorial was undertaken in 2015 by the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) of the Heritage Documentation Programs division of the National Park Service, Richard O’Connor, Chief. The project was sponsored by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), Honorable Max Cleland, Secretary. Project planning was coordinated by Paul Dolinsky, Chief, HALS, and by John Wessels, Deputy Director, Overseas Operations, ABMC. The field work, including hand measuring and terrestrial laser scanning, was undertaken by Project Supervisor Christopher M. Stevens, HALS Landscape Architect, and HDP Architects Dana Lockett, Dan DeSousa, Jason W. McNatt, and Ryan Pierce. Stevens, McNatt, Pierce, and Landscape Architecture Technician Charles Canfield (University at Buffalo) produced the measured drawings. The historical reports were written by HABS Historian Lisa P. Davidson, Ph.D. The large-format photography was produced by contract photographer Brian Grogan in 2016. On-site assistance at Meuse-Argonne was provided by David Bedford, Superintendent; Dominique Didot, Cemetery Associate; and by the ABMC maintenance staff.
The American Battle Monuments Commission, established by the Congress in 1923, is an agency of the executive branch of the federal government. ABMC—guardian of America's overseas commemorative cemeteries and memorials—honors the service, achievements and sacrifice of U.S. Armed Forces. ABMC's commemorative mission includes:
- Designing, constructing, operating and maintaining permanent American cemeteries in foreign countries.
- Establishing and maintaining U.S. military memorials, monuments and markers where American armed forces have served overseas since April 6, 1917, and within the United States when directed by public law.
- Controlling the design and construction of permanent U.S. military monuments and markers by other U.S. citizens and organizations, both public and private, and encouraging their maintenance.
For more information please visit the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery website.
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