New Amphitheater For Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery was established in 1863. As the cemetery’s influence grew, the need for a large gathering place was recognized and in 1874 construction was on an amphitheater. By the early 1900s, the Old Amphitheater had grown far too small for the large ceremonies which where held at Arlington. A new larger facility was proposed which would memorialize the dead of all wars in which the nation had fought. During the third session of the 62nd Congress, a number of new federal memorials were approved, including the Arlington Memorial Bridge, the Lincoln Memorial, a memorial to women who served in the Civil War and a George Washington memorial auditorium. President William Howard Taft, in one of his last acts as president, signed legislation approving the construction if the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater into law in March 1913.
On March 1, 1915 ground-breaking ceremonies for the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater took place on top of a hill about 1,000 feet south of Arlington House. Civil War veterans are present to break ground. A gravel pit, opened in the mid-1800s, existed there previously. President Wilson will lay the cornerstone once construction has progressed.