John Paul Jones

Statue: John Paul Jones (July 6, 1747 – July 18, 1792)
Location: 17th Street and Independence Avenue, NW (Potomac Park)
Sculptor: Charles Niehaus, New York
Architects: Carrere & Hastings
Unveiling: 3:00 p.m., April 17, 1912
Cost: $50,000

John Paul Jones was a Scottish sailor and the United States’ first well-known naval fighter in the American Revolution.

In June 1909 Congress appropriated $50,000 for a statue of Commodore John Paul Jones, and the Memorial Commission decided to locate it in the small circle in Potomac park at the foot of Seventeenth Street, north of the tidal basin.

Originally it was hoped that the statue would be dedicated in 1911, but the Commission didn’t like the initial design of the ship in which Jones is standing and that part of the statue had to be redesigned. The statue was designed by Charles H. Niehaus. The final design was finished in a building at Seventeenth and E Streets, and was unveiled in 1912.

The memorial consists of a marble pylon of classical design that is a background for a colossal bronze figure of the naval commander. The pylon is 15 feet high and occupies the center of an ornamental fountain at the north entrance to Potomac Park. Water for the fountain comes from the bronze heads of dolphins at each end of the pylon. On the back of the memorial will be placed a large bas relief panel of Jones raising the American flag on the warship Bonhomme Richard.

The statue of John Paul Jones stands 10 feet high, and shows him in what is considered his most famous stance – it represents the naval hero standing in a characteristic attitude on the deck of a warship. It was accordingly decided to ask the artist to remodel that feature of the base of the statue.. He is shown in full uniform with his right hand clenched and his left hand grasping the hilt of his sword.

The pageant which will be under the director of Brig. General Robert X Evans will probably march by way of Penn to 17th street. Admiral Dewey will pull the unveiling cord. The Rev. Charles Wood, pastor of the Church of the Covenant will pronounce the invocation.

The memorial dedication included a martial pageant, which was composed of cavalry, artillery, and infantry regiments of the United States army, marines, sailors, and officers of the Navy, and the District National Guard, that provided military honor, and prominent speakers who gave eulogies upon Jones life and achievements. President Taft and General Horace Porter, former United States Ambassador to France, to whom the credit for restoring the bones of the hero of his country is given, will be the principal speakers.

In 1919, a resolution was approved to allow the D.C. Society of the Sons of the American Revolution to place a tablet at the base of the John Paul Jones statue. The tablet unveiling ceremony was held in 1920.  The tablet is inscribed with a statement John Paul Jones delivered to the Marine Committee of Congress on September 14, 1775, outlining the proper attributes of a good naval officer:

It is by no means enough that an officer of the Navy should be a capable mariner. He must be that, of course, but also a great deal more. He should be as well a gentleman of liberal education, refined manner, punctilious courtesy and the nicest sense of personal honor.  He should not only be able to express himself clearly and with force in his own language, both with tongue and pen, but he should be versed in French and Spanish. He should be the sold of tact, patience, justice, firmness and charity.

In 1927, in observance of the 180th anniversary of the birth of John Paul Jones, exercises were conducted at the statue by the Sons of the Revolution. A wreath was placed at the base of the statue by Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Aeronautics Edward P. Warner.


Jones Statue Model, The Washington  Post, June 10, 1909

To Honor John Paul Jones: Monument will be erected here in Summer of 1911, The Washington Post, March 6, 1910

Dewey will unveil statue, The Washington Post, April 7, 1912

Honor to JPJ, Daniels Approves Plan to Place Table on Statue Here, The Washington Post, December 27, 1919

Nation’s Tribute Paid Paul Jones, Thousands Take Part in Unveiling of the Tablet in Potomac Park, The Washington Post, October 31, 1920

Exercises at Statue Honor John Paul Jones, The Washington Post, July 7, 1927


Garfield Statue

President James A. Garfield (March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881)
: 1st and Maryland Street, S.W., on the western side of the Capitol
Architect and Sculptor: John Quincy Adams Ward, Ohio
Ceremony: May 12, 1887
Cost: $65,000 – Congressional appropriations of $30,000, and $35,000 from the Army of the Cumberland.

The Garfield Statue was funded, approved and dedicated in 6 years – one of the quickest turnarounds for a statue in DC. The reason was mainly due to the determination of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland.

In 1883 funds were raised through the Army of the Cumberland for the statue and Congressional appropriations of $30,000 were approved in 1884.

President James Garfield only served six months in the presidency. He was assassinated by Charles Gautieu, in 1881. Prior to the presidency he had served in the Civil War.  Garfield commanded the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and later served as Chief of Staff for the commander of the Army of the Cumberland.

The original location for the statue was to be in Iowa circle at the intersection of Vermont and Rhode Island Avenues, and P and 13th Streets – now known as Logan Circle. The sculptor J.Q.A. Ward was well-known and well-regarded and had completed the bronze memorial of General Thomas at 14th Street and Massachusetts Avenue. In 1884 a Congressional commission selected the site at the foot of the Capitol grounds at the intersection of 1st Street and Maryland Avenue, SW.

The original concept for Garfield’s statue was that “He will hold the Bible in his hand and have his face turned slightly upward as he take the obligation”.

The unveiling took place on May 12, 1887, coinciding with the meeting of the Society of the Army of Cumberland. On that day a procession was gathered and proceeded from the Arlington Hotel at 12noon, and led by Gen. Baird to the statue.

The unveiling ceremony began at 1pm with an opening prayer, the Marine Band played “The Star Spangled Banner”, and then the flag was pulled off the statue as the “crowd cheered, [and] the Marine Band struck up “Hail to the Chief”. This was followed by a national salute of thirty-eight guns fired from a battery which had been placed on Capitol Hill for the purpose.

The ten foot six inch statue shows Garfield delivering an address with his right hand resting on a column and a manuscript held in his left. The three figures at the base of the pedestal are representative of the three phases of Garfield’s life – that of student, soldier, and statesman. Adornments include a laurel wreath enclosing the scales of justice for the statesman, a sword and a trumpet for the soldier, and globe for the student. The pedestal also has bands of oak leaves and buckeyes. The inscriptions read:

James A. Garfield, 1831-1881

Major General U.S.V., Member of Congress, Senator and President of the United States of America

Erected by his comrades of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland, May 12, 1887

The salutation was given by General J.W. Keifer and lasted almost an hour. General Sheridan then transferred the statue to President Cleveland, saying, ‘This statue which has been unveiled in your presence to-day was erected by the comrades of General Garfield belonging to the Army of the Cumberland. They recognized his merit as a soldier and they wished to pay some testimony to that merit and to his worth as a man.’

President Cleveland accepted the statue and gave a speech after which the band played “Hail, Columbia”, and Rev. F.D. Power have the benediction.

In subsequent years the area of the statue saw many near collisions as it was a highly trafficked area and a streetcar used to run up 1st Street. In 1959 Congressman Whitener of North Carolina brought a bill to Congress to move the statue after a near collision with a streetcar close-by the statue. The bill did not pass.


The Washington Post, May 11, 1883

Army of the Cumberland, Apr 8, 1887

The Garfield Statue, May 1, 1887

Gen. Garfield in Bronze, May 13, 1887

Brush with Streetcar, Mar 3, 1959

Forget Garfield Shooting, Jul 3, 1911