Count Rochambeau

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
Cost: $42,500

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

Serenity Statue

Location: Meridian Hill Park, NW, upper park, on the 16th Street side
Placement: 1925
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:


Note: William Henry Schuetze’ name is misspelled on the monument.

Serenity is located in the northwest side of the park facing Sixteenth Street. The statue is sculpted by Jose Clara from a solid block of Carrara marble. The sculpture is 5’ 6” tall and shows a woman wearing long, flowing classical robes which are tied at her waist, her arms casually rest on rocks behind her. Her left foot rests on a broken sword.

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.”


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