CHAPTER ONE - The Site
In 1919, through the efforts of Academy members Robert Millikan, Gano Dunn, J. C. Merriam, and Research Council member James Angell, sufficient money was raised through a subscription program to purchase a parcel of land that was within view of the new Lincoln Memorial for the sum of $185,010.21. The site was located in an area then known as Potomac Park that was part of a development plan formulated by the Senate Parks Commission in 1901-1902. The plan, popularly known as the McMillan Plan, envisioned the area between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial as a park filled with monumental structures. The Commission of Fine Arts, established in 1910, was to oversee the aesthetic integration of the area covered by the McMillan Plan, and informal discussions on the desirability of locating an Academy building in this area occurred within the Commission as early as 1914.1
The building was about to become a reality.
The site purchased for the National Academy of Sciences
Building in 1919. NAS Archives.
The future building site was purchased with donations from
18 individuals and corporations. NAS Archives.