Bartholdi Fountain

Bartholdi‘s Renaissance-style fountain of cast iron was first exhibited at the International Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. Congress bought it a year later for $6,000.

Its first location was at the base of Capitol Hill to the south of where the Grant Memorial is located. Later it was removed and stored. And in 1932 the 30-foot-tall sculpture was moved to its current location near the U.S. Botanic Garden, which operates Bartholdi Park.

The sculptor, Frederick Auguste Bartholdi, also created the Statue of Liberty in New York City.

The fountain was made for the centennial exposition at Philadelphia in 1876. After the close of the exposition it was brought to this city and erected in its present site in the Botanic Garden, just north of the conservatory.

Reference:

Evening star. (Washington, D.C.), 17 April 1914. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1914-04-17/ed-1/seq-10/>

Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran, Poet (January 6, 1883- April 10, 1931) Born: Lebanon, Died: New York
Location: 3100 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Sculptor: Gordon Kray, Washington, D.C.
Design: Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK)
Dedicated: May 24, 1991
Cost: $1Million (private funds)

The Memorial to the Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran is a peaceful, recessed 2-acres on Massachusetts Avenue across from the British Embassy.

To get there one has to cross a foot-bridge that leads to the memorial entrance – a bust of the poet, a water feature and a dove.

The dedication, led by President George H.W. Bush, and included the Marine Corps marching band.

The memorial to the poet who wrote “The Prophet” in 1923 was conceived of by Sheryl Dekour Ameen and is the first monument to an Arab-American on federal land in Washington. Congress approved of the memorial in 1984, and the National Park Service gave a vacant parcel of land on Massachusetts Avenue. Lebanese American conservative William J. Barrody, Jr. led the fundraising for the $1 million to build the park.

References:

Kahlil Gibran’s Garden of Verses: President Bush and the People’s Kinder, Gentler Poet Henry Allen. The Washington Post. 25 May 1991: D1.

Gibran’s Garden: Ross, Nancy. The Washington Post. 23 May 1991: T05.

D.C. Garden Marks Words Of Peace Lebanese Americans To Memorialize Writer, Barbour, John. The Washington Post; Aug 12, 1989; B6.

The Eternal Kahlil Gibran: Never Has One Prophet Done So Little to Deserve So Much. By Jonathan Yardley. The Washington Post; 08 Oct 1984: D1.

Louis Jacque Daguerre

A statue for Louis Jacque Daguerre, for whom the daguerreotype is named, was first proposed in January 1890 by the Photographer Association of America. The Association requested the memorial be erected in the National Museum of the Smithsonian Institute and permission was given by then Smithsonian Secretary Samuel P. Langley.

Louis Jacque Daguerre (French): November 18, 1787 – July 10, 1851
Location: 7th Street, between F and G Street, NW, on the east-side of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery
Cost: $7,500, was raised by popular subscription
Sculptor: J. Scott Hartley, New York City
Unveiled: August 16, 1890
Re-dedicated: 1982

A statue for Louis Jacque Daguerre, for whom the daguerreotype is named, was first proposed in January 1890 by the Photographer Association of America. The Association requested the memorial be erected in the National Museum of the Smithsonian Institute and permission was given by then Smithsonian Secretary Samuel P. Langley.

The sculpture was unveiled in August 1890 at the eleventh annual convention of the Photographers’ Association of America, during their meeting in Washington, D.C.  The sculpture was placed in the rotunda of the National Museum (today called the Arts and Industries Building).

The sculpture is made of granite and bronze and shows “Fame”, crowning the head of Daguerre with a laurel wreath. There is a globe, symbolizing the universality of photography, of polished bronze encircled with a laurel wreath. Above the globe and laurel wreath is the head of Daguerre in bronze relief. On one side of the pedestal is the inscription:

“Photography, the electric telegraph and the steam engine are the three great discoveries of the age. No five centuries in human progress can show such strides as these.”

At the time of the unveiling, the sculpture and the sculptor had not been fully paid for. The Photographers’ Association and the Daguerre memorial fund eventually came up with the monies needed by collecting subscriptions.

In 1897 changes were made at the National Museum for the creation of more gallery space, and the Daguerre memorial was moved to the grounds outside the museum. Eventually, in 1969, with the construction of the Hirshhorn Building, the Daguerre statue was placed in storage.

In honor of the 150th anniversary of photography the Daguerre statue was relocated and rededicated at the plaza between the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of American Art on Seventh Street NW between F and G streets.

References:

A Statue to Daguerre, The Washington Post, January 23, 1890

In Honor of Daguerre, The Washington Post, August 16, 1890

Site for Daguerre’s Statue, The Washington Post, May 25, 1897

Taras Shevchenko

Memorial: Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko, (Ukrainian) 1814 – 1861
Sculptor: Leo Mol, Ukranian-born
Location: triangle park – P Street, between 22nd and 23rd Streets, NW
Unveiling: June 27, 1964, 1 p.m.
Cost: $250,000 (made by donation)

The Shevchenko statue was unveiled during the 150th anniversary of the poet’s birth. The anniversary was also marked in the Soviet Union with festivities and the unveiling of a Shevchenko statue there. Sponsored by anti-Communist Ukrainian-American groups, the Shevchenko memorial was opposed by many Americans on the grounds that the poet was both anti-Semetic and the idol of the Communist Party.

The statue was approved by the Senate in September 1960, and was to be built at no expense to the Federal Government. The controversial statue of Taras Shevchenko, the 19th century Ukrainian poet, was put in place in early June 1964 at the triangle park at 22nd and P Streets, NW. The unveiling happened a couple of days later.

The opposition to the statue was loud and long – with editorials flooding The Washington Post for months before the unveiling, and even The Washington Post editorialized against it. The statue was opposed for many reasons including the fact that Shevchenko was not an American; that he was an anti-Semite; and that he was an idol to the Communist Party.

In the months leading up to the unveiling of the statue, it seemed that everyone had an opinion about the statue and the poet. One letter signed by 36 Soviet Ukrainians was sent to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, DC, endorsing the statue and the poet. However, another impassioned letter writer, was decidedly against the memorial, stating:

“The erection of a monument to this obscure Ukrainian who sole contribution to the United States was, so far as I can determine, a vociferous group of followers, was no doubt unavoidable because of the political implications involved.”

The statue dedication took place on Saturday June 27, 1964, at 1pm, after a parade from the Ellipse. Over 36,000 took part in a weekend of festivities that included concerts throughout the city and a parade on Saturday. At the unveiling, former President Eisenhower spoke at the ceremonies. Eisenhower, who had signed the September 1960 bill that provided for the erection of a monument to Shevchenko, praised his poetry and his fight for freedom.

Taras Shevchenko was born a serf in Moryntsi, Ukraine in March 1814, he gained his freedom at the age of 24, and become the Ukraine’s best known and most loved poet. He dedicated his life to defending the rights of peasants bound in serfdom. His most famous book of poems is Kobzar (The Bard) published in 1841.

Memorial Design

There are two distinct parts of the memorial. The statue of the poet with this dedication:

Dedicated to the liberation freedom and independence of all captive nations.

This monument of Taras Shevchenko, 19th Century Ukrainian poet and fighter for the independence of Ukraine and the freedom of all mankind, who under foreign Russian imperialist tyranny and colonial rule appealed for the new and righteous law of Washington was unveiled on June 27, 1964. This historic event commemorated the 150th anniversary of Shevchenko’s birth. The memorial was authorized by the 86th Congress of the United States of America on August 31, 1960, and signed into Public Law 86-749 by Dwight D Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States of America, on September 13, 1960. The statue was erected by Americans of Ukrainian Ancestry and Friends.

The second part of the memorial is a granite slab with an artistic depiction of man breaking the chains of bondage, with this poetic quote on the back of the slab:

…Our soul shall never perish. / Freedom knows no dying. / And the greedy cannot harvest / fields where seas are lying: /

Cannot bind the living spirit / nor the living word, / cannot smirch the sacred glory / of th’almighty Lord.

Taras Shevchenko, “The Caucasus”, 1845

The Shevchenko memorial has another distinction, the discussions on the approval on the memorial were the impetus for the director of the National Park Service to call for the curtailing of statuary in Washington, D.C.

References

U.N. Official Joins the Shevchenko Row, The Washington Post, November 29, 1963.

Shevchenko Statue Ready for Pedestal, The Washington Post, May 30, 1964.

Unveiling Rites Set Today for Statue of Shevchenko, The Washington Post, Jun 27, 1964.

Removing Shevchenko, Ukrainian Weekly [Jersey City, N.J] 19 Nov 2000: 6.

Ukranians Make Eisenhower Feel ‘Like I Were Back in Politics’, by Phil Casey, The Washington Post, Jun 28, 1964.