JF Ptak Science Books Post 2595
John Russell Pope (1874-1937) was a "classical" Neo-classical architect whose designs had a profound impact on the way that people experience the U.S. past in Washington, D.C. He created the Jefferson Memorial, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Archives, buildings which have that particular beautiful geometry of Roman/Greek essence. The designs that Pope submitted for the Lincoln Memorial, however, are quite a different story. They were magnificent, and gigantic, and in some ways very appropriate given the enormous nature of Lincoln.
The plans were far too large--and unlike the other buildings, this one would have made Lincoln far more removed, and unreachable, than is worth the nature of the man. For example, in one of his proposals (just below) we see a Pantheon-like structure sitting at the top of stairs with probably 150 steps (if not more). It is true that there are a lot of steps at Henry Bacon's Lincoln Memorial today--58 to the pavement) but that seems just about right, as they give a little time for the statue of Lincoln to reverse-emerge at the top of the stairs. Doubling the number of steps would be bad; nearly tripling them would have been terrible.
I think that Lincoln would be not amused with the Memorial as it exists today--probably he would have been happier with the Jefferson, which is basically ground-level and much more modest, though with a more pronounced setting. That of course is assuming that Lincoln would have been comfortable at all with the idea of such a thing made to honor him.
The two images above images appeared in The Architectural Review, volume II, October 1913 #10, a year or so after the final selections for the memorial were made. Another, later in the process submission by Pope included this ziggurat design, which would have been even deeper into the thankfully-unbuilt category. The process began in 1911, and ended in 1922 with the opening of the structure.