"Mac has had an unseen hand in making my lifelong professional dream come true. 'Cowboy Judge' Mac rode in the annual rodeo parade and sparked this kid’s dream about reliving Old Arizona. Senator Mac helped write the GI Bill that paid the tuition for my architecture degree dream. Governor Mac created the Arizona State Parks where I fulfill my historical architect dream by restoring iconic buildings to tell inspiring stories. When Mac’s grandchildren asked my son and me to design his memorial on the State Capitol Mall, it seemed natural to honor this humble hero for helping make others’ dreams come true. Just as a biographer recounts a remarkable story in words and pictures, we created an architectural fanfare for the common man in concrete and steel celebrating Ernest W. McFarland and the American Dream. Thanks, Mac." - Don W. Ryden, AIA, Ryden Architects: Building Harmony
"You never have to meet Mac to know him. His inspirational spirit can be found in us all. If you are ever to wonder 'what it means to be American,' just think of Mac. His moment in history is celebrated because his actions and efforts were decisively focused on building a better future. Mac’s life story is a reminder to all Americans that our individual paths contribute to the greater good, and that through truth, justice, and love our future has an opportunity if we work together." - J. Erik Ryden, Preservation Planner & Architectural Designer, Ryden Architects
On Arizona Statehood Day, February 14, 2015, a new memorial was dedicated at Wesley Bolin Plaza in Phoenix to Ernest W. McFarland and to the hopes and dreams of all Americans. It replaces a memorial that had fallen into disrepair.
Taking four years to research, design and build, the project was completed by the McFarland Memorial Restoration Fund – a private fundraising effort led by McFarland’s grandchildren: Kara L. Lewis, William C. Lewis, John D. Lewis, Leah L. Lewis and Delbert R. Lewis, Jr.
The concept for the new memorial was developed by Phoenix architect Don W. Ryden, AIA.
The focal point of the neoclassical design is a 24 foot Triumphal Arch representing the “Gateway to Opportunity” that Mac provided for so many Americans.
Symbolism is used throughout the site to represent Mac’s professional accomplishments and personal hardships. Extensive research for the panels at the memorial depicting the chapters in his life was provided by historian Vincent Murray of Phoenix.
A memorial plaque represents Mac's reputation as a workhorse and a humble man who simply considered himself a public servant.
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