Fort Leslie McNair

Fort McNair was built in 1791, and is the third oldest Army installation in continuous use since the founding of the United States. The other two are West Point and Carlisle barracks, Carlisle, Pa. The installation has been an arsenal, a penitentiary, a hospital, a troop training post, and now a center for higher education.

Joint Base Myer-Henderson, that Fort McNair is part of, created a walking tour brochure that can be found at:

Each year Joint Base Myer-Henderson holds a quarterly Public Open House of Grant Hall so visitors can access the grounds and see the Grant Hall courtroom and museum.

Click on the gallery link below to see a photo tour with captions of Ft. McNair from August 5.


Statue: Maine Lobsterman
Location: Southwest waterfront
Placement: 1983
Sculptor: Victor Kahill
Cost to Taxpayers: $0, $30,000 raised by Camp Fire Girls of Cundys Harbor, Maine

A bronze statue of a Maine lobsterman is located on Maine Avenue in Southwest on the Potomac waterfront in Washington. This statue is a gift from Maine.

In 1939 Victor B. Kahill, a Lebanese immigrant, completed the model of a life-size figure representing a Maine lobsterman which occupied a prominent place in the Maine section of the Hall of States at the World’s Fair in New York City. The state couldn’t afford a bronze statue so Kahill painted his plaster model a bronze color.

The state later cast three bronze replicas of the statue. The first was placed in Portland’s Canal Plaza, the second was paid for by residents of Johnson’s hometown raised and placed there, and the third casting is the statue in Washington, D.C.

After the fair closed the statue was moved to city hall in Portland, Maine. However, it was soon moved again to the basement of City Hall to protect it from vandals. In 1958, it was repaired and put on display at Maine’s Department of Sea and Shore Fisheries’ Marine Museum and Aquarium at Boothbay Harbor.

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About the Sculptor and Subject

Victor Kahill, and his older brother Joseph, were born in Beirut, Lebanon. Victor became a sculptor and came to America in 1909. He studied art, and fought for the United States in World War I. Victor was able to bring his brother to America with money he made as an artist. Victor died in San Francisco in 1965.

The artist, at his death, bequeathed the statue to Maine’s Department of Sea and Shore Fisheries.

The model for the statue was Elroy Johnson, a lobsterman born on Bailey’s Island in Harpswell, Maine, in 1894, and he died in September 1973.

Johnson was quoted as saying,”Mr. Kahill said the way he had me kneeling was more statuesque. If the Legislature sees fit to send it to Washington, who am I to complain? If they put it down on the waterfront there, I’d like to be buried beneath it. I always said I’d like the thing for a tombstone anyway.”

The statue is seven-feet high and placed on a pedestal of Maine granite. It depicts Johnson as a lobsterman, stooped and putting a peg into a lobster claw.

Overall dimensions of the memorial would be approximately 10 feet wide by seven feet long and seven feet high.

In 1979 then U.S. Senator (and later Secretary of State under Carter) Edmund Muskie of Maine, proposed placement of the “Maine Lobsterman” statue in Washington, D.C. On September 4, 1980 Congress passed the resolution (PL 96-337) permitting the Camp Fire Girls of Cundys Harbor, Maine, to erect “The Maine Lobsterman” memorial in the District of Columbia.

The cost of the statue and its transportation were donated by the Camp Fire unit that had raised $30,000 for the memorial.

NOTE: Currently the Southwest waterfront is undergoing extensive development. The development, called The Wharf, required the removal the “Maine Lobsterman.” However, according to Mike DeBonis of The Washington Post, Senator Collins of Maine, and Del Eleanor Holmes Norton of DC introduced legislation that protects the Lobsterman’s location along the Southwest waterfront.

NOTE (June 15, 2018 update): The Lobsterman has been reinstalled at the Wharf in SW and moved closer to the Fish Market at beginning of Marketplace Pier.



Lobsterman Is Eyed for Maine Avenue, By John R Wiggins. The Washington Post, Times Herald, June 11, 1967.
A New Statue: Lobsterman’ to be Erected on the Waterfront, by Paul Hodge, The Washington Post. Feb 5, 1981.
Lobsterman Arrives in D.C., Eisen, Jack. The Washington Post, June 16, 1983.
The Maine Lobsterman, Shawna Merserve., June 3, 2013.

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.