Benjamin Franklin

Statue: Benjamin Franklin
Location: 10th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Dedication: January 17, 1889, 10:00 AM
Designer: Ernst Plassman, New York City
Sculptor: Jacques Jouvenal
Designer of the Pedestal: J.F. Manning, Washington, DC
Cost to Taxpayers: $0, donation by Stilson Hutchins

The statue of Benjamin Franklin was cut from a single block of Carrara marble and is 8 feet 6 inches high. Standing on a pedestal of Massachusetts granite that is 11 feet 2 inches tall – the statue is almost 20 feet tall.

The statue took almost five years to make, and was a gift to the City of Washington from Stilson Hutchins of The Washington Post. Hutchins offered the statue to the City of Washington in 1888, and the District Commissioners accepted it. The District Commissioners then requested permission from Congress, who approved the resolution.

On October 4, 1888, the pedestal and statue were placed at the “small reservation at the intersection of D and Tenth and Pennsylvania Avenue NW just west of the banking house of Lewis Johnson & Co.” However, the statue wasn’t “unveiled” until Franklin’s birthday the following year on January 17.

The dedication ceremony was held on the 183rd anniversary of Franklin’s birth. The unveiling was done by Mrs. M.W. Emory who was the great granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin.

The statue is similar to the bronze Franklin Statue in front of Printing House Square in New York City. The statue was designed by Ernst Plassman who designed the New York City Franklin statue.

Jacque Jouvenal, the sculptor, cut the Franklin statue in Washington at his studio that was located for many years on the north side of D and 10th Streets, NW.

The statue shows Franklin with his right hand raised, and in his left hand is a rolled-up manuscript. At the base of his right foot is a pile of books with one open volume. The coat that Franklin is depicted wearing has a fur lined collar and is, according to The Washington Post, a “studied reproduction of a garment known to have been worn by Franklin when he appeared before the court of France, at Versailles, on the occasion of the ratification of the treaty between France and the United States following the recognition of the Republic of Great Britain.”

The pedestal has four sides, on which are inscribed in raised granite letters the following: Printer, Philosopher, Patriot, Philanthropist. On the south side, directly under the base of the statue, is the name FRANKLIN.


Erected January 17, 1889
Ernst Plassman, Designer
Jacques Jouvenal, Sculptor
J.F. Manning Designer of the Pedestal

And Hutchins, as reported in The Washington Post, believed that “[George] Washington was the greatest character in the revolutionary epoch or in the arduous struggle succeeding it, and that the can be no question that Franklin stood second to Washington, and that, just like Washington, our independence and our liberties are due to Franklin.”


Statue of Benjamin Franklin: A Joint Resolution Authorizing the Commissioners to Select a Site for it Passes the Senate, The Evening Star, June 21, 1888.

Franklin’s Statue: It is Unveiled Today; Mr. Hutchin’s Gift to the City. The Evening Star. January 17, 1888.

John Marshall

Statue: John Marshall (1755 – 1835), Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Location: John Marshall Park, 4th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Dedication: May 10, 1884, original statue
Dedication: May 10, 1983, John Marshall Place Park and replica statue
Sculptor: William Wetmore Story

Memorial Fund

John Marshall died in Philadelphia on July 6, 1835. The next day the Philadelphia bar association met and resolved to erect a monument to John Marshall for the people of the United States. The memorial fund was created and subscriptions were collected including contributions of $10 by the Philadelphia bar members. A total of $3,000 was collected in 1835.

The $3,000 was not sufficient to support the design and creation of a monument and was therefore invested in city bonds of Philadelphia with subsequent accrued interest reinvested in bonds.

The committee’s work stopped.

The idea of a statue to John Marshall was eventually revived. And in 1882 Senator Johnson, of Virginia, introduced a resolution for a statue to John Marshall in the Nation’s Capital. The resolution passed.

It was at this time that there was a discovery in Philadelphia of the Marshall memorial fund.

45 years had passed since the Marshall memorial committee had collected $3,000 dollars from Philadelphia bar members. When the committee had deemed that amount insufficient for the purposes of building a memorial, the funds had been put aside and into a fund package. By the time the Congressional resolution for a national memorial to John Marshall passed  the funds had increased in value to $20,000. The funds were re-designated for the memorial.

Congress passed the resolution for a memorial on March 10, 1882, with Congress appropriating $20,000 and the Philadelphia bar donating $20,000 for the memorial fund.

Placement of original statue

The bronze statue of John Marshall first Chief Justice of the United States, was unveiled on the Capitol grounds on May 10, 1884. The statue was originally placed on the foot of the west entrance of the Capitol.

In 1940 the House of Representatives suggested transferring the John Marshall statue from the Capitol grounds to a site near the new Supreme Court building, but the statue wasn’t moved until 1982. It was moved to the Supreme Court Building in February 1982.

Description of statue

The statue depicts John Marshall seated in a chair wearing a judicial robe that drapes to his feet. His hand is outstretched as if he is delivering an opinion. The front of the base bears the inscription:

John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States.

Erected by the members of the bar and Congress. A.D. 1884

The side panels are 6′ by 6′ in length and 2′ x 9″ in height, with figures over 2′ in height.

The rear of the pedestal is marked with an ornate wreath of oak and laurels. One either side are allegorical figures, with the right-hand side entitled, “Minerva dictating the constitution to Young America,” and the left-hand side entitled “Victory Leading Young America to Swear Fidelity on the Alter of the Union.”

The sculptor was William Wetmore (W.W.) Story, whose father Joseph Story served as a Supreme Court Justice and was known as one of the first great legal writers.

According to the W.W. Story, “The subjects are allegorical, one representing Minerva dictating to Young America, seated at a table, the constitution, while beyond Minerva, to the right, are two seated figures, representing Philosophy and Jurisprudence and Infant America. On the other side are Commerce, Education bringing forward a young boy, Agriculture — eight figures in all.

The other subject is Victory bringing forward young America to swear allegiance on the altar of the union, on which she deposits her sword and lance, while on the other side of the altar stands Religion pointing upward and beyond her is Justice and Equity. Beyond these Age, a dignified old man is seated, and Youth, a young girl, is leaning upon his shoulder. On the other side, and beyond America, is the seated figure of an Indian, sadly contemplating the former, representing the aboriginal inhabitant over with Victory and America have triumphed.”

Development of John Marshall Place Park

In the 1980s the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation (PADC) commissioned several parks, and other construction, along Pennsylvania Avenue including John Marshall Park, situated at 4th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. The area that made up the park had been residential with row houses and hotels in the 19th century, which were razed in 1969. Marshall had lived in that neighborhood when he worked in Washington, D.C.

The park is made up of three “platforms” defined by paved walkways, trees, and grass with seating creating borders. There is a sundial in the park, which was a replica of a sundial John Marshall had at his in Richmond. The park also has fountains with bronze lily pads, fish, frogs and dragonflies.  Along the seating of the middle park are two seated, bronze chess players designed by Lloyd Lillie.

John Marshal Memorial Park is 2 acres, cost $2.5 million to construct, and was completed in 1985.

In the final park plans a statue of John Marshall was approved for the park. The statue  is a duplication of the Marshall statue originally located in front of the west-side of the Capitol, and now housed in the Supreme Court building. The statue pedestal is 6 feet high and made of the same granite as the walls in the park. The pedestal was supposed to have the same moldings as the original design. It does not.

About John Marshall

John Marshall was born in Fauquier county, Virginia on September 24, 1755. He fought in the Revolutionary war and became a captain in 1777. He was at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown and fought at Monmouth. In 1782 he was elected a member of the Virginia house of delegates from Fauquier and began after the war ended.

Marshall and James Madison (4th President of the United States) took part in the Virginia convention to accept the constitution.

He later served as a representative in Congress, as an envoy to France and as Secretary of State. In 1801 he was nominated as Chief Justice of the United States, and the Senate unanimously confirmed his appointment. He served as Chief Justice for 34 years. he died in Philadelphia on July 6, 1835, and buried near his wife, Mary Ambler, in Richmond. VA.


The Marshall Memorial, Evening star., May 10, 1884

Perpetuated in Bronze: Unveiling of the Statue of Chief Justice Marshall. The Washington Post, 11 May 1884.

Guglielmo Marconi

Statue: Guglielmo Marconi,  April 25, 1874 – July 20, 1937
Location: 16th Street and Lamont Street, NW
Sculptor: Attilio Piccarilli
Architect: Joseph H. Freedlander
Landscape Architect: Joseph C. Gardner
Dedication: Scheduled for the Fall 1941
Cost to Taxpayer: $0, $35,000 raised and contributed by the Marconi Memorial Foundation, Inc. New York

Within months after the death of Guglielmo Marconi there were many people and groups that wanted a memorial to be built to the father of wireless telegraphy.

In August 1937, Representative Dickstein, (D-N.Y.) introduced a resolution calling for the designation of an appropriate memorial for Marconi. In April 1938 President Roosevelt signed a bill authorizing a memorial to Marconi. In 1940, during their thirtieth anniversary meeting, the Commission of Fine Arts approved the plans for the Marconi memorial. And in 1941 the Office of National Capital Parks approved the location at 16th and Lamont Streets.

The memorial cost about $32,555 and was paid for by the Marconi Memorial Foundation. The Foundation, created shortly after the death of Marconi, was headed by Generoso Pope owner of two Italian-language newspapers in New York who organized the memorial funding through contributions.

According to The (Washington) Evening Star, the statue was a gift to the American people as a “token of [American Italians] loyalty and devotion to the United States and its free institutions.”

Marconi was born in Bologna, Italy in 1874 and died in 1937. He took out the first patent on wireless telegraphy based on electric waves in England in 1896.

The statue consists of a pair of pedestals on a granite base. A bronze bust of the inventor, 3 feet 8 inches in height, sits on the smaller pedestal, which is 7 feet high. The memorial is topped with a gilded bronze figure of a woman atop a globe, representing electric waves.

The statue is unique in that it is dedicated to a person associated with technology.

The memorial was scheduled for installation in the Fall of 1941.

The inscription reads:

Erected by popular subscription and presented to the City of Washington

By The Marconi Memorial Foundation



D.C. Fine Arts commission 30 Years Old: Makes Anniversary By Approving Plans of Marconi, The Washington Post, May 18, 1940, pg 13

Marconi Memorial to be Erected Here, The Washington Post, March 13, 1941

Marconi to Be Honored, The Washington Post, April 15, 1938

Washington to get Marconi Monument: Of Granite and Bronze, It Will Be Unveiled This Spring, New York Times; Mar 13, 1941; pg. 44

Tomas Garrigue Masaryk

Statue: Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, March 7, 1850 – September 14, 1937
: triangle park at Massachusetts and 22nd Street, NW
Dedication Ceremony: November 2002
Completion Ceremony: March 8, 2003, 2pm
Sculptor: Vincene Makovsky, Czech
Cost: $0, $757,000 for the American Friends of the Czech Republic

The Masaryk statue was a gift to the United States from the Czech Republic.

The idea of having a statue of a Czech citizen in Washington, D.C. was championed by The American Friends of the Czech Republic (AFoCR) in 1999. The group became aware of a statue of Masaryk sculpted just before his death in 1937 by Czech sculptor Vincenc Makovsky. The sculpture had been stored for safekeeping during the Nazi invasion and the Soviet occupation. Once the sculpture was found, AFoCR lobbied Congress to accept the gift and a bill to accept the statue of Masaryk was passed on November 5, 2001.

The design concept for the Masaryk Memorial was approved in June 2002 and the final design approved in July 2002. And in September 2002, the statue of Masaryk was placed in the new T. G. Masaryk Park in Washington, D.C.

Masaryk’s great-granddaughter, Charlotta Kotik, unveiled the statue. It was dedicated by Czech President Vaclav Havel, U.S. Ambassador Craig Stapleton and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright. A large crowd attended the ceremony and the U.S. Navy Band played the three national anthems. The stone plaza, landscaping and placement of a descriptive plaque were completed in 2004.

Invalid Displayed Gallery

The 12-foot statue shows Masaryk with a hat in one hand and the Declaration of Czech Independence from Austria in the other.

In 1918, Masaryk, along with Edvard Beneš, founded Czechoslovakia. Masaryk modeled the Czechoslovak Declaration of Independence closely on the U.S. Declaration. President Woodrow Wilson who had advocated for all countries to be free and democratic after World War I, recognized Masaryk’s exile government as the de facto government of Czechoslovakia on Sept. 3, 1918.

Masaryk’s personal relationships with many Americans most notably President Woodrow Wilson, led to the recognition by the United States of a free Czechoslovakia in 1918. For six months Masaryk traveled throughout the United States writing the Joint Declaration of Independence from Austria that was signed in Philadelphia and issued in Washington on October 18, 1918, where he was declared the President of Czechoslovakia.

Masaryk, the son of a coachman and a cook, became a philosophy professor. He fought anti-Semitism and advocated women’s rights, even taking the family name of his American-born wife, Charlotte Garrigue, as his middle name.


A Hero of Democracy Finds a Home; D.C. Park Location Approved for Stored Statue of Czechoslovakia’s Founder. The Washington Post Company Mar 22, 2002.

Checks for Czechs and a Farewell to Havel: The Washington Post [Washington, D.C] 23 Sep 2002: C03.

Metro; In Brief: [FINAL Edition] The Washington Post [Washington, D.C] 08 Mar 2003: B03.

Americans Friends of the Czech Republic: