James Cardinal Gibbons

James Cardinal Gibbons Memorial StatueMemorial: James Gibbons (July 23, 1834 – March 24, 1921)
Unveiling: August 14, 1932, 3:30 p.m.
Location: Sixteen Street and Park Road, NW
Sculptor: Leo Lentelli
Cost: No cost to the United States, donated by the Knights of Columbus

The unveiling coincided with the golden jubilee convention of the Knights of Columbus, who gave dedicated the statue and presented it to the United States. Approximately 20,000 members of the Knights of Columbus and other Catholic organizations turned out for the parade and the dedication ceremony.

The unveiling of the statue to Cardinal Gibbons was broadcast on the national radio network. President Hoover addressed the assembly and accepted the statue on behalf of the United States.

Martin H. Carmody, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, presented the memorial, and the Most Rev. John M. McNamara, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore made an address. The unveiling was performed by a grandniece of the late cardinal. There was also a papal delegate at the ceremony, the Most Rev. Peter Fumasoni-Biondi, who delivered the invocation and blessed the ceremony.

James Gibbons was born in Baltimore. And, although he grew up in Ireland, he came back to Maryland for his education. He was ordained a priest in 1861. Gibbons later became an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Richmond from 1872 to 1877, and as ninth Archbishop of Baltimore from 1877 until his death in 1921. Gibbons was elevated to the cardinalate in 1886, the second American to receive that distinction, after John McCloskey.

The idea of a statue to Gibbons originated with Charles W. Darr, the Knights of Columbus State deputy supreme of the District. In 1928, seven years after his death, a joint bill was introduced in the House and Senate by Representative Fred N. Zihlman, of Maryland, and Senator Millard A. Tydings, of Maryland, authorizing the memorial. It was unanimously passed by Congress and approved by President Coolidge on April 23, 1928.

The resolution called for the memorial to be placed at 16th Street and Park Road on Government ground opposite the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. And the memorial was to be funded through contributions from the Knights of Columbus.

Because the Knights of Columbus were paying for the memorial they organized the judging of the initial models. The monument to Cardinal Gibbons was selected from a group of five models submitted by leading sculptors and approved by the Knights of Columbus committee for the memorial and the Fine Arts Commission of the District.

The plan for the memorial called for the Knights of Columbus to contribute all the funds for the statue.


James Gibbons, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Gibbons

Catholic Memorial on U.S. Land Proposed, The Washington Post, January 6, 1928, pg. 20

Gibbons Statue Board Chosen, The Washington Post, May 1, 1928, pg. 3

K. of C. to Unveil Statue on Aug. 14: Late James Cardinal Gibbons, The Washington Post, June 6, 1932, pg. 8

Hoover to Accept Cardinal’s Statue, The Washington Post, Jul. 21, 1932, pg. 14

Gibbons’ Work Highly Lauded at Statue Rite, The Washington Post, Aug 15, 1932, pg. 1

Radio Dial Flashes. By ROBERT D. HEINL. The Washington Post, 14 Aug 1932: A2.

Octagon House

Octagon HouseThe Octagon house is one of the oldest houses in downtown Washington, D.C. The often and easily overlooked house is a beautifully maintained example of an 18th Century house.

The Octagon House, at 1799 New York Avenue NW, is actually 6-sided and was designed by William Thornton who also designed the Capital Building, and built for John Tayloe III.

The house was completed in 1801 to serve as a winter house for the very wealthy Tayloe family of Richmond County, Virginia. However, from 1818-1855 the Tayloe family lived in the house year-round. John Tayloe III died in 1828, and his wife Ann Ogle Tayloe died in 1855. After that the house was rented out to various parties and people, and in 1902 was purchased by the American Institute of Architects as their headquarters. The current AIA headquarters building was completed in the 1960s and the Octagon was renovated and opened as a museum in the 1970s.

The first thing you notice when you walk in the house is the curved door. The door is made from two pieces of wood that are curved and locked together. The entrance is an oval room with several large South-facing windows.

From the entrance hall there are two large formal public rooms. As you enter the house and turn right there is a large living space, called the Drawing Room. The current furnishings include a sofa, some chairs, and two tables. The room itself is large and comfortable and you can easily imagine the room filled with guests.

On the other side of the main floor is an equally large dining room. In it is a set table with seating for eight, two fireplaces, a sideboard with serving china and a row of Western-facing windows. There are two doors into the room – the one nearer the front for the guests and the door in the back of the room for the servants. The door in the back of the room leads to a back staircase that runs from the basement to the upper floors.

Heading downstairs, by either staircase, leads you to a large open area with several storage areas including a wine cellar and one large room – probably for the housekeeper. In the basement there is also a kitchen – something that usually, during this period, wasn’t part of the main house. This large kitchen was well-appointed and included a stew stove and a bakery oven, both rarities during the early 19th Century.

I head upstairs using the main stairway, which is painted yellow and has display niches, to the second floor. This floor has some private family space as well as an office located above the entrance hall. This study, now referred to as the Treaty Room, was used as the family parlor.

During the war of 1812, when the British in August 1814 burned Washington, D.C., President James Madison and his wife Dolley, stayed in the Octagon house for six months. It is in the Octagon house, in the Treaty Room, that the Treaty of Ghent was signed on February 17, 1815 that ended the war. A replica of the table used when signing the Treaty is on display.

Bartholdi Fountain

Bartholdi-longviewBartholdi‘s Renaissance-style fountain of cast iron was first exhibited at the International Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. Congress bought it a year later for $6,000.

Its first location was at the base of Capitol Hill to the south of where the Grant Memorial is located. Later it was removed and stored. And in 1932 the 30-foot-tall sculpture was moved to its current location near the U.S. Botanic Garden, which operates Bartholdi Park.

The sculptor, Frederick Auguste Bartholdi, also created the Statue of Liberty in New York City.

The fountain was made for the centennial exposition at Philadelphia in 1876. After the close of the exposition it was brought to this city and erected in its present site in the Botanic Garden, just north of the conservatory.


Evening star. (Washington, D.C.), 17 April 1914. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1914-04-17/ed-1/seq-10/>