Bronx, NY

What is the Hall of Fame for Great Americans?

James Garside

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Hall of Fame for Great AmericansWikimedia Commons

At Bronx Community College in the Bronx, New York City, there's an outdoor sculpture gallery called the Hall of Fame for Great Americans.

It might sound like the start of a joke, but most Americans don't know what the Hall of Fame for Great Americans is or who's in it.

The Hall of Fame for Great Americans was the first of its kind in the United States.

As you walk along the promenade, you can see the faces of American leaders and historical figures that the country holds dear.

The collection is comprised of almost a hundred bronze busts of notable Americans.

The Hall of Fame contains people famous as in renowned and noteworthy rather than celebrities as it is meant today.

Entry into the Hall of Fame was controlled by a national body of electors to represent the wisdom of the American people.

To most Americans today, some of the names and faces in the Hall will be unfamiliar. Other famous figures will be conspicuous by their absence.

The Hall of Fame is a shrine to honor the men and women who actually made America great.

Don't expect to see Donald Trump there any time soon.

The most recent addition to the gallery was the bust of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973.

The Hall of Fame originated as a result of a quirk in its location.

In 1973, New York University relocated to downtown Manhattan. Its campus became Bronx Community College, part of the City University of New York.

To the north lies the Kingsbridge neighborhood, south is Highbridge, and west is Jerome Avenue.

The Hall of Fame was conceived by Henry Mitchell MacCracken, Chancellor of New York University, and designed by Sanford White.

Stanford White designed the campus, and its buildings, including the classic domed library.

The library was completed in 1899.

The colonnade of New York University's University Heights campus is half-circled by the university library.

They had to build a heavy, protruding foundation to secure the library, and White turned this into the Hall of Fame.

The Hall was intended to disguise the eyesore of the library's foundation with an elegant promenade.

The Hall of Fame for Great Americans has proven to be a popular landmark and tourist destination.

Who are the Great Americans that you think belong in the Hall of Fame?

What makes these Americans great?

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