The opening of Memorial Bridge by President Hoover on January 16, 1932 also marked the opening of the new Memorial Entrance to Arlington National Cemetery. The entrance is on the axis of the Lincoln Memorial, Memorial Bridge and Avenue and Arlington House. A parkway exists from the Virginia side of the bridge to the steep slope leading to Arlington House. This parkway ends in a court, partly excavated from the hill. From this court yard a road leads to the north (Schley Drive) and to the south (Roosevelt and Eisenhower Drives). The western end of the court yard is a semicircular retaining wall 30 feet high and 226 feet in diameter. It includes 10 niches with pilasters on each side. The outer, center and middle niches on each side are semicircular 3 feet 6 inches deep. The two other niches on each side are rectangular 2 feet deep. All niches are 19 feet high by 9 feet across. There is an oak leaf wreath within the rectangular niches. At the center of the circular wall is a large semicircular niche, 20 feet across by 30 feet high. At its base is a fountain. Forming the keystone of the large, center niche, is the Great Seal of the United States of America. On each side of the center niche and slightly lower than the Great Seal of the United States are large Seals of the Department of the Army and the Department of the Navy. The Army Seal is on the south side and the Navy Seal on the north side. The fountain is 19 feet in diameter. It is not used at the present and has not been used for many years. Access to the terrace above the retaining wall is by steps at each end of the retaining wall. The terrace is 24 feet wide and the rear of the terrace slopes into Section 31. There is a pedestrian walk along the front of the retaining wall. The planned pedestrian access to the cemetery via Schley and Roosevelt Drives, was to be through either of the two pedestrian arches with wrought iron gates. On top of each granite arch is a granite eagle.
The vehicular traffic to Schley Drive on the north and Roosevelt Drive on the south is through ornate wrought iron gates. Each gate is in two sections and each section is divided by a panel on which is mounted a wrought iron fasces. Above each section of the 13 wrought iron spikes, are six gold stars. In the center of each section, on the outer side, is mounted a gold wreath 30 inches in diameter. Set in the wreath is a shield 15 inches wide by 18 inches tall with the seal of one of the military services, from left to right, Marine Corps, Army, Navy, and Coast Guard.
On the end posts of each gate is a gilded lamp. The granite pillars at the ends of the retaining wall and the pillars marking the Memorial Entrances to Arlington National Cemetery (6 total)" are surmounted by granite funeral urns.
The maintenance of the court and the parkway to Memorial Bridge is the responsibility of the
United States Park Service.
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