Manage episode 257480318 series 1530999
EPISODE 315 The Hall of Fame for Great Americans, founded in 1900, was a precursor to the Nobel Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a vaunted tribute to those who have contributed greatly to the development the United States of America.
Located on the campus of Bronx Community College in the University Heights neighborhood of the Bronx, the Hall of Fame features the sculpted bronze busts of 96 individuals considered worthy of renown in their day, arranged along a columned arcade designed by Stanford White.
It was so important in the early 20th century that the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame derive from its example. The Hall of Fame for Great Americans even pops up in The Wizard of Oz!
But today it is virtually forgotten. And no person has been elected to the Hall of Fame since the 1970s.
This is the story of a university with lofty intentions, a snapshot of early 20th century optimism, and a look at a few questionable considerations of 'greatness'.
*There were once 98 busts but two were removed in 2017.