There are four statues at the end of Rock Creek Park (where the Parkway ends at Lincoln Memorial Circle). This statue is called The Art of Peace. Given to the United States by Italy in 1950, the statue depicts a warrior guided home by the muses of Art and Music.
Count Jean Baptiste Rochambeau (b. Vendome, France; 1725–1807)
Location: Southwest corner of President’s Park
Sculptor: M. Ferdinand Hamar, Vendome, France
Architect: L. Parent
Unveiling: May 24, 1902 at 11am
The Rochambeau statue project began around 1901 after Congress passed a bill for $7,500 for the purpose of purchasing a statue, and in 1902 Congress appropriated another $15,000 for the foundation, pedestal, transportation and other expenses for the Rochambeau statue. In all Congress passed 4 appropriations for the statue. Two totaling $22,500 for the statue and pedestal and foundation, and two more appropriations for the reception of the guests, and the entertainment of the French mission totaling $20,000. France contributed $7,500.
In 1900 a statue of Rochambeau was unveiled in Vendome, France, and a statue of George Washington was unveiled in Paris. At that time is was suggested that a statue of Rochambeau should be placed in Washington, D.C., and M. Jules Boeufve, chancellor at the French Embassy, was the initiator of the idea of placing a statue of Rochambeau in the nation’s capital.
About the statue
It is a replica of the statue sculpted by Ferdinand Hamar which sits in Vendome, France. Rochambeau is depicted in his general’s uniform during the Battle of Yorktown. His right arm is raised and he is pointing, and in his left hand he holds a map and plan.
At the front of the statue is the figure of Liberty stepping out of a boat. She is holding the entwined flags of the United States and France. In her other hand she is holding a sword that is outstretched and protecting an eagle that represents a young and defiant America.
On the pedestal are thirteen stars representing the thirteen original colonies, under which is simply the name Rochambeau. On one side is the Rochambeau family coat-of-arms – three stars, on the other side is the fleur-de-lis of the French monarchy. On the fourth side is a shield with stars of the American Union.
On the base appears the name of the sculptor, the architect, and a quote from George Washington from a February 1, 1784 letter —
We have been contemporaries and fellow-laborers in the cause of liberty, and we have lived together as brothers should do, in harmonious friendship.
The Dedication Ceremony
A huge contingent from France came over for the unveiling on May 24, supposedly the anniversary of Count de Rochambeau’s entrance into the French army.
The large delegation included the Count Rene de Rochambeau and Count Paul de Lafayette. Also in the French delegation was Gen. Brugere, commander-in-chief of the French army, vice president of the superior council of war, and the inspector general — they sailed to America on the battleship Gaulois.
Senator Henry Cabot Lodge dedicated the statue. The dedication ceremony was attended by several thousand people who sat in stands on three sides of the statue (the south, east, and west). President Theodore Roosevelt was at the ceremony as were members of Congress, the French mission, and members of the foreign legations.
District Bills Reported, The Washington Post, Jan 10, 1902, pg. 12
Mission of High Rank, The Washington Post, Apr 26, 1902, pg 1
Expenses of Rochambeau Dedication, The Washington Post, May 6, 1902, pg. 4
Beautiful work of art, The Washington Post, May 24, 1902, pg 5
When the United States hosted the World Cup in 1994, RFK Stadium hosted 4 divisional games and 1 Round of 16 game on July 2, 1994 between Spain and Switzerland.
Location: Meridian Hill Park, NW, upper park, on the 16th Street side
Sculptor: Jose Clara
Cost: Gift to the United States
The Serenity memorial is dedicated to Navy Lieutenant Commander William Henry Schuetze. It was given to the United States by Charles Deering. Deering and Schuetze were classmates at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and graduated in 1873.
According to the Deering Estate: “Charles Deering, a Civil War child, was enthralled by stories of naval heroics. He entered the U. S. Naval Academy as a cadet midshipman. In 1873, he graduated second in his class. Charles’ roommate and best friend, William Henry Schuetze, graduated in the top position.” Schuetze served in the United States Navy until his death in March of 1902.
The Serenity Statue had been completed by the time that Charles Deering “offered” the statue to the people of the United States for a memorial to his Navy Academy classmate and friend William Henry Scheutz. Deering had purchased the statue in Paris in 1900. When Schuetze died in 1902, Deering offered as a gift to the United States in memory of Schuetze.
The Commission of Fine Arts welcomed the statue calling it “an ideal statue designed by Jose Clara, a leading Spanish sculptor of to-day [sic], this Commission welcomed the idea. Congress having so authorized, a site was selected in Meridian Hill Park, where the statue of Serenity takes its place among the other distinguished works in a garden-park.” The memorial was accepted in 1924. The statue was placed in the park in July 1925.
There is an inscription in the front on the base of the statue reading:
IN REMEMBRANCE OF WILLIAM HENRY SCHEUTZE
LIEUTENANT COMMANDER UNITED STATES NAVY
Note: William Henry Schuetze’ name is misspelled on the monument.
The Most Abused Memorial in DC
Often referred to as the most abused memorial in the city, The Washington Post reported in 1926 the Serenity statue was painted with red and black paint. In 1934 her face was painted with lipstick and rouge. Sometime in the 1950s Serenity’s nose was broken off. And in 1960 it was reported that two fingers were missing from her left hand and one from her right hand. And in 1990 the statue was spray painted with the word Uhuru.
In another story of disrespect for the memorial, in 1933, with only the upper portion of the park completed and officially opened, the Columbia Heights citizens association called for the removal of Serenity on artistic grounds calling the statue offensive.
Col. U.S. Grant, 3d, director of Public Buildings and Public Parks at the time was resigned to having the statue stay in the park explaining that an act of Congress put it there. He gave his opinion about the statue stating, “Personally I think it is an entirely unattractive statue, but I had nothing to do with its acceptance and I realize only too well that tastes and opinions on subjects of aesthetics change from time to time.”