John Saul

Memorial:John Saul
Location: E Street NW, northeast area of the Ellipse

John Saul was born in Lismore County, Ireland, December 25, 1819. He was educated in landscape gardening, and managed large nurseries on the Isle of Wight and then in Bristol, England before moving to Washington, D.C.

In 1851 he came to Washington and was hired by the Federal government to lay out Smithsonian and Lafayette Parks, as well as several other areas and squares in Washington City.

In 1871 during a time of growth and improvements in Washington, Governor A. R. “Boss” Shepard appointed a commission, also referred to as the parking commission to plant trees in the city. The first commission, whose members served without pay, included William R. Smith, superintendent of the Botanical Gardens; William Saunders, superintendent of Agricultural grounds, and John Saul, who owned a nursery in the Brightwood neighborhood, and Trueman Lanham who served as chief executive officer of the commission.

Saul, as part of the parking commission, introduced planting plans that increased the number of trees throughout the city. The commission initially planted quick growing soft maples that were interspersed with hard woods that would add longevity to the plantings.

John Saul was a member of the Horticultural Society of Washington and served as it’s president for many years.

Saul was a member of St. Patrick’s Church, the Carroll Institute, the American Pomological Society. And he also was hired by W.W. Corcoran to work at Harewood Park.

Saul owned a large estate in Brightwood where he lived in an 11-room house and ran a nursery on the property.

John Saul died on May 11, 1897 in his home in Brightwood. His memorial service was held at St. Patrick’s and he is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery.

The plaque reads:

In Memory of
John Saul
Born Castlemartyr
County Cork. Ireland
December 25, 1819
Died Washington D.C. May 11 1897
Founding Member and First Chairman, Parking
Commission of the District of Columbia 1871 – 1897

Wharf and East Potomac Park Jitney

The other day I was riding my bike around Hains Point when a helpful NPS Ranger asked if I knew about the ferry. When I told him I didn’t, he shared the details with me. Thanks, #NPSRanger.

Throughout the summer (April – November), the Wharf runs a jitney across the Washington Channel to East Potomac Park. The shuttle dock at the Wharf is at the end of the Recreation Pier. The dock on the East Potomac Park side is located on the water across from the East Potomac Park Putt Putt course.
Shuttle between the Wharf and East Potomac ParkThe ride takes about 1 minute, and are free! Bikes are allowed. It only runs during the day (from 12noon – 30 minutes before sunset, and 9am – 30 minutes before sunset on weekends). Check the schedule.

There’s no call box. You can just go to the pier and wait. They’ll see you across the water and come over to pick you up.

Recreation Pier
The shuttle between the Wharf and East Potomac Park is located at the end of Recreation Pier (7th Street SW)

It’s an easy and quick way to get across the DC channel, and there’s so much to do on either side. If you want to play golf, mini golf or tennis, ride your bike, go fishing, or relax and watch the planes land at Washington National Airport then come over to East Potomac Park. If you want to shop, eat, relax on swings, play oversized board games, or catch a show at Anthem, Pearl Street Warehouse, or Union Stage then head over to the Wharf side of the channel.

Jean Jules Jusserand

Memorial: Jean Adrien Antoine Jules Jusserand (18 February 1855 – 18 July 1932)
Location: Rock Creek Park, .25 mile south of Pierce Mill
Architect: Joseph Freedlander, New York architect
Dedication: November 7, 1936, 2 pm
Cost: $0 to taxpayers

Jean Adrien Antoine Jules Jusserand (February 18, 1855 – July 18, 1932) was French Ambassador to America. He came to Washington in 1902 and stayed until 1925 when he retired. He died in July 1932 in France.

He was well-known and well-liked during his time in America. Rock Creek Park was a favorite of Jusserand’s. He was friends with Theodore Roosevelt and was part of Roosevelt’s “Tennis Cabinet.” The two also used to take walks throughout Rock Creek Park.Jusserand bench with NPS informationShortly after Jusserand’s death, Cass Gilbert proposed a memorial to Jusserand “of an intimate nature, unpretentious in expression, and a tribute to the man, the scholar, the diplomat.” And Dr. Francklyn Paris of New York formed the Jusserand Memorial Committee, and became chairman. He invited 25 “leading statesmen and citizens” to join the committee and served as the head of the committee for four years.

In March 1935, Senator Metcalf from Rhode Island introduced a bill to allow for a memorial in Washington to Jean Jules Jusserand. On May 6, 1935, the House adopted the joint resolution authorizing the erection of a memorial to Jusserand. The bill would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to select a site on Government land for the memorial, “in memory and esteem of his fine friendship for the United States and its people during the 22 years of his service in Washington.” Congress would not appropriate funds for the project.Jusserand bench

Rock Creek Park was fittingly selected as the location for the memorial, because “it was near Pierce Mill that the distinguished diplomat and Mms. Jusserand made frequent walks.” And the stories of Jusserand’s strenuous “walks” with President Theodore Roosevelt were also well known. The original suggested location was off Rock Creek Parkway near the P Street Bridge. But the current site was selected by Dr. Charles Moore, Chairman of the Commission of Fine Arts at the time.

In a Commission of Fine Arts report, the “location for [the memorial] was selected in Rock Creek Park, where the Ambassador had spent many happy hours, at a spot among the trees a short distance south of Pierce Mill.”

According to National Park Service documentation, the Jusserand Memorial is located approximately one-quarter of a mile south of the Pierce Mill complex and is sited on a hill approximately twenty five feet east of Beach Drive.

The memorial bench is carved out of Milford (Massachusetts) Pink granite in the form of an exedra and incoporates low relief carvings of wings at its ends. The elliptical bench is approximately 22 feet long and 4 feet high and rests on a stepped granite platform.

The inscription reads
“Jusserand. Personal tribute of esteem and affection. 1855 – 1932”

Jusserand Inscription

Samuel Gompers

Statue: Samuel Gompers (January 27, 1850 – December 13, 1924)
Location: Massachusetts Avenue, NW, between 10th and 11 Streets
Dedication: October 8, 1933, 10AM

Samuel Gompers was born in England where he was educated. When he was 13 his family moved to New York City. His father was a cigar maker, and Samuel became a cigar maker, too. At the at of 14 Gompers became involved with the Cigarmaker’s Local Union. In 1875 he was elected president of Cigarmaker’s International Union Local 144.

In 1881, Gompers helped found the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, which was, in 1886, reorganized into the American Federation of Labor. Gompers was elected the first president of the AFL. He served as president, except for one year, until his death in 1924.

After Gompers death a memorial foundation was formed, headed by the AFL, to create a monument to Gompers. In 1928, Congress approved a monument to Gompers. The memorial foundation raised the money.

This memorial was designed by Robert Aitken of New York City for the triangular plot of land at Eleventh street and Massachusetts avenues, near the original AFL headquarters. The statue construction began in 1931 after Aiken’s plans were approved.

Interestingly when the memorial was being pieced together there was a dispute with the iron workers. The union of iron workers had recently created a four-hour day for iron workers in order to employ twice as many men. Essentially the 8 hours shifts were split. In order to get the work completed on the Gompers memorial but also on the Archives building, the Department of Justice and the Government heating plant – all being constructed at the same time – exceptions were made to the new union rules.

The Gompers Monument is a group of statuary, with some figures in bronze. It is 16-feet high. In the middle of the memorial is Samuel Gompers. He is surrounded by symbolic statues representing labor, the home, education, justice, and liberty. The two figures behind him represent labor greeting each other, Justice and Liberty are standing behind Labor, and a mother kneeling with a baby represent “Home.”

The memorial cost approximately $100,000 raised by the memorial foundation.

The ceremony was held at 10am Saturday, October 8, 1933, with President Franklin D. Roosevent and William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor, addressing the crowd. There were about 8,000 people who attended the unveiling.

President F.D. Roosevelt began his address to the crowd by saying,

“It is fitting that in the Capital of the Nation a statue should stand through the ages, to remind future generations of the services to that Nation of a patriot who served his country well.”

He concluded by saying,

“Like the duly constituted officials of your Government, we must put and we are putting unselfish patriotism first. That would have been the order of Samuel Gompers is he were with us today.”

In 1983 a movement was started by the metropolitan labor council to refurbish the memorial to Samuel Gompers. The same fundraising campaign also included a proposal to erect a memorial to A. Philip Randolph, founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, who died in 1979. Although the Gompers memorial was cleaned and the park area refurbished in the early 2000s, a memorial to A. Philip Randolph has not been added to the park.


  • Unions Seek to Refurbish Gompers Statue, The Washington Post, 25 Nov 1983: B3
  • Evening Star, October 3, 1933
  • Evening Star, November 7, 1930