Gravelly Point, A Photo Essay

Gravelly Point is a park located northwest of National Airport and provides a viewing area of planes takeoff and landing. Gravelly Point is part of the National Park Service’ George Washington Member Parkway.

Gravelly Point Plane
Directly overhead (the ball is from the soccer players on the field near the picnic tables)
Gravelly Point Plane
At Gravelly Point looking towards National Airport as a plane approaches the runway

The name Gravelly Point refers to the actual gravel that made the point.

“Look at a geologic map of Washington and its environs, and you will see a lot of gravel.” wrote John Kelly, of The Washington Post, in his column titled, some out-of-town Congress-people want to rename Gravelly Point. Here’s why we shouldn’t let them.

Gravelly Point Plane on Approach
Plane approaching National Airport with Washington and Jefferson Memorials in background

Hahnemann Memorial

Statue: Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (April 10, 1755 – July 2, 1843)
Location: Scott Circle, Massachusetts and Rhode Island at 16th Street, NW
Sculptor: Charles Henry Niehaus, New York
Architect: Isralis and Harder
Dedication: June 21, 1900
Cost: $75,000 (most raised by subscription)

Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann was a German physician, known for creating the system of alternative medicine called homeopathy. He died in 1843 in Paris, at 88 years of age, and is entombed in a mausoleum at Paris’s Père Lachaise Cemetery.

In 1892 at the annual meeting of the American Institute of Homeopathy held in Washington, DC., the idea of a memorial to Hahnemann was first proposed. A committee was formed, led by Dr. J. H. McClelland of Pittsburgh, PA. In 1895, after a design competition judged by a group from the American Sculptors and Architects’ League, Charles H. Niehaus‘ design won first prize.  Charles H. Niehaus was a well-known sculptor from New York City.

On January 30, 1900, Congress granted permission for the erection of a Hahnemann monument on public grounds and included an appropriation of $4,000 for a foundation. The law also created a commission for the monument, and the Scott Circle location was chosen on February 17, 1900.

The dedication ceremony took place on June 21, 1900 with President McKinley in attendance as a spectator. The statue was unveiled while the Marine band played “America.”

The memorial is elliptical and made of white marble. In the center is a  bronze statue of a seated Hahnemann, with the inscription above reading “Hahnemann.” The features on the statue were copied from David. On the statue pedestal is the Latin inscription “Similia Similibus Curentur” which means “Likes are cured by Like.”

The niche behind the statue is decorated in glazed colored mosaic representing the foliages and flower of the cinchona plant, a reference to the medicinal properties of the cinchona bark.

On the curved sides of the memorial, flanking the statue, are four brass bas-reliefs.

On the left side is a bas-relief reflecting study and experimentation. Underneath the relief is the inscription, “Die Milde Macht ist Gross” translated from German it means “Gentle Power is Great.” Next to the relief is inscribed “Aude Saper” which means “Dare to Know” in Latin.

On the right side the bas-relief show Hahnemann as a teacher and a physician. Underneath the relief is the saying “In Omnibus Caritas” meaning “In All Things Charity.” And next to that is the inscription Non Inutilis Vixi, which in Latin means “I have not lived in vain” an inscription that Hahnemann himself suggested for his monument in 1839.

The back of the memorial has the inscription

Christian Friederich Samuel Hahnemann
Doctor in Medicine
Leader of the Great
Medical Reformation
of the Nineteenth
Founder of the
Homeopathic School

topped with the date when the memorial was created, MCM – 1900.

Flanking the inscription are the dates of Hahnemann’s birth (on the left) Meissen, April 10, 1755; and death, Paris, July 2, 1843, encircled with laurel wreaths. 

Scott Circle in its setting of Fame, by John Clagett Proctor. Evening Star, July 22, 1934
The Hahnemann Memorial, Evening Star, July 20, 1895
The Hahnemann Memorial, Evening Star, February 19, 1900

John Saul

Memorial:John Saul
Location: E Street NW, northeast area of the Ellipse

John Saul was born in Lismore County, Ireland, December 25, 1819. He was educated in landscape gardening, and managed large nurseries on the Isle of Wight and then in Bristol, England before moving to Washington, D.C.

In 1851 he came to Washington and was hired by the Federal government to lay out Smithsonian and Lafayette Parks, as well as several other areas and squares in Washington City.

In 1871 during a time of growth and improvements in Washington, Governor A. R. “Boss” Shepard appointed a commission, also referred to as the parking commission to plant trees in the city. The first commission, whose members served without pay, included William R. Smith, superintendent of the Botanical Gardens; William Saunders, superintendent of Agricultural grounds, and John Saul, who owned a nursery in the Brightwood neighborhood, and Trueman Lanham who served as chief executive officer of the commission.

Saul, as part of the parking commission, introduced planting plans that increased the number of trees throughout the city. The commission initially planted quick growing soft maples that were interspersed with hard woods that would add longevity to the plantings.

John Saul was a member of the Horticultural Society of Washington and served as it’s president for many years.

Saul was a member of St. Patrick’s Church, the Carroll Institute, the American Pomological Society. And he also was hired by W.W. Corcoran to work at Harewood Park.

Saul owned a large estate in Brightwood where he lived in an 11-room house and ran a nursery on the property.

John Saul died on May 11, 1897 in his home in Brightwood. His memorial service was held at St. Patrick’s and he is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery.

The plaque reads:

In Memory of
John Saul
Born Castlemartyr
County Cork. Ireland
December 25, 1819
Died Washington D.C. May 11 1897
Founding Member and First Chairman, Parking
Commission of the District of Columbia 1871 – 1897

Wharf and East Potomac Park Jitney

The other day I was riding my bike around Hains Point when a helpful NPS Ranger asked if I knew about the ferry. When I told him I didn’t, he shared the details with me. Thanks, #NPSRanger.

Throughout the summer (April – November), the Wharf runs a jitney across the Washington Channel to East Potomac Park. The shuttle dock at the Wharf is at the end of the Recreation Pier. The dock on the East Potomac Park side is located on the water across from the East Potomac Park Putt Putt course.
Shuttle between the Wharf and East Potomac ParkThe ride takes about 1 minute, and are free! Bikes are allowed. It only runs during the day (from 12noon – 30 minutes before sunset, and 9am – 30 minutes before sunset on weekends). Check the schedule.

There’s no call box. You can just go to the pier and wait. They’ll see you across the water and come over to pick you up.

Recreation Pier
The shuttle between the Wharf and East Potomac Park is located at the end of Recreation Pier (7th Street SW)

It’s an easy and quick way to get across the DC channel, and there’s so much to do on either side. If you want to play golf, mini golf or tennis, ride your bike, go fishing, or relax and watch the planes land at Washington National Airport then come over to East Potomac Park. If you want to shop, eat, relax on swings, play oversized board games, or catch a show at Anthem, Pearl Street Warehouse, or Union Stage then head over to the Wharf side of the channel.