The Francis Marion Memorial Project was conceived by John F. McCabe during a trip to Washington, DC in June of 2005. Looking at a map of the Capital City, Mr. McCabe noticed a small green space marked “Marion Park” on South Carolina Avenue, SE, just four blocks from the United States Capitol Building. Being a curious history buff, Mr. McCabe researched the park, and discovered that it was part of the National Capital Parks-East division of the National Park Service. The park was named for the famous partisan general from South Carolina, Francis Marion or “The Swamp Fox.”
Mr. McCabe contacted the National Park Service and was sent research on
the history of the park. It was represented in the original 1791 Pierre L’Enfant design, and was improved in 1886 as the Capitol Hill Neighborhood developed. It was also noted that there is very little recognition of the name of the park, or the National Hero for whom it was named.
It was then that the idea came to Mr. McCabe to discover the process
needed to place a monument in Marion Park, which would be on National Park grounds. After another visit to Washington in August, which involved a visit to Marion Park with Dr. Frank Faragasso, a National Park Historian, the process began. On December 23, 2005, Mr. McCabe contacted Joseph Lawler of the National Capitol Region of the National Park Service, and was sent an official communication on the process to place a monument honoring “The Swamp Fox” in Washington.
The State newspaper of Columbia, SC, published a front page story on the
project on December 27, 2005, which was released to the Associated Press and picked up by roughly 25 newspapers, and various radio and television stations, including National Public Radio. The Charleston (SC) Post & Courier has published two articles and three editorials lauding the project. After several meetings with Congressman Joe Wilson, he offered to introduce the needed legislation to get the project underway. All six South Carolina Congressmen have co-sponsored the legislation. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint have agreed to support the project in the United States Senate.
The Francis Marion Memorial Project Committee was formed and partnered with the Palmetto Conservation Foundation, a South Carolina-based 501(c)3 organization. A meeting then was held with the National Park Service in Washington on March 24, 2006. At this meeting the finer points in establishing a monument on Federal government land were determined. Five steps are required to complete the process at no cost to the Federal government:
1. Enabling Legislation
2. Site Selection
The project has moved to phases two and three since the President signed the bill in 2008. This means we are in need of roughly $50,000 to retain an architectural firm in Washington, D.C. to guide us through the site selection and design process.