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.

Simon Bolivar

Statue: Simon Bolivar, South American Liberator, July 24, 1783 – December 17, 1830
Location: 18th and C Street and Virginia Avenue, NW (Bolivar Park)
Sculptor: Felix W. de Weldon, Washington, D.C.
Dedication: February 28, 1959
Cost to taxpayers: $0

In 1955 a resolution was passed in the Senate authorizing acceptance of a statue to Simon Bolivar, South American liberator, in Washington, D.C., to be presented to the United States by Venezuela as a gesture of friendship. In 1957 the Fine Arts Commission reserved the triangle part at 18th and Virginia Avenue, NW for the statue and a park.

The 8-ton statue was designed by Felix W. de Weldon, a member of the Fine Arts Commission and also the sculptor of the Iwo Jima statue. The model was sent to Brooklyn, NY, for casting, which took 10-weeks, because there are no foundries left in Washington, D.C. The statue measures 24 feet from the base of the tip of the sword and 24 feet from the horse’s nose to the tip of the tail. It stands on a Swedish granite pedestal 12 feet high.

The statue was placed on it’s pedestal in December 1957, and the original dedication ceremony was scheduled for May 22, 1958, with Vice President Nixon scheduled to preside. However, due to a coup d’etat in Venezuela in January 1958, the ceremony was postponed.

Finally on February 27, 1959, President Eisenhower accepted a 36-foot bronze statue of Simon Bolivar as a symbol of the will of the United States and Venezuela “to live and work together.” The dedication came with two weeks after Romulo Betancourt was elected President on February 13, 1959, ending a decade of dictatorship in Venezuela.

The gift from the Venezuelan Government also includes the creation of the newly designated Simon Bolivar Plaza, with landscaping, a marble plaza, pool and six jets of water will shoot 23 feet into the air to represent the six countries liberated by Bolivar.

Other American cities — New York City (Central Park), Bolivar, W. Va., and Bolivar, Mo., and New Orleans — have monuments to the ‘Great Liberator’. But the one located in Washington, D.C. is the largest of all equestrian statues in the Western Hemisphere.

References:

Bolivar Statue Voted, The Washington Post and Times Herald, Jun 22, 1955, pg. 18

D.C. Statue to Honor Bolivar, The Washington Post and Times Herald, Nov. 20, 1956, A6

Envoy Presents Bolivar Statue to New Orleans, The Washington Post and Times Herald, Nov. 26, 1957, A2

Statue of Latin Hero to be Unveiled Here, The Washington Post and Times Herald, May 11, 1958, F13

Bolivar Ceremony Here is Put Off, The Washington Post and Times Herald, May 20, 1958, A6

U.S. to Accept Bolivar Statue, The Washington Post and Times Herald, Feb. 20, 1959, pg. B1

Venezuela’s Bolivar Statue is Accepted by President, The Washington Post and Times Herald, Feb. 28, 1959, B1

J. J. Darlington Memorial and Fountain

Statue: Joseph J. Darlington, attorney
Location: 5th Street and Indiana Avenue, NW (District of Columbia Court of Appeals)
Sculptor: Carl Paul Jennewein, New York
Dedication: November 1923
Cost to taxpayers: $0

This little statue to a prominent Washington attorney by a prominent sculptor caused quite a stir when it was unveiled. There is very little written about the inception of this memorial, but it only took 3 years to erect — practically a record in terms of memorial placement.

Joseph James Darlington was born in Due West, South Carolina. He moved to Washington, D.C., in 1875 and began practicing law. He was very active in the community and served as the dean of the local bar; a member of the joint citizens committee on suffrage; president of the City Orphan Asylum; a member of the Fifth Baptist Church and a member of the boards of directors of the Washington Loan and Trust Company and the Federal National Bank.

At the time of his death on June 24, 1920, Joseph J. Darlington had been an attorney in Washington, D.C., for 46 years. He was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery (Georgetown) after funeral services at the Fifth Baptist Church. Judges of District courts, member of the local bar association and committee members from the Southern Society of Washington attended the ceremony.

After his death the Board of Directors of the Washington Railway and Electric Company and the Potomac Electric Power Company adopted resolutions of respect for Darlington, saying: ‘His intellect was of the highest; his love for humanity unbounded; his truthfulness was unquestioned; and his honor was flawless. In his passing a glorious example of all that is best and worthwhile has been made clear to all of those who knew him.’

The Southern Society of Washington, of which Darlington was a member, also passed a resolution, that stated, in part: ‘In the death of Joseph James Darlington the District of Columbia loses one of the most distinguished lawyers at its bar and the South a son who has attained high distinction.’

So his friends got together and lobbied to have a memorial placed in Washington in Darlington’s memory. In 1922, Senator Brandegee of Connecticut introduced a resolution in Congress to erect a statue in memory of Darlington. The resolution stated that no appropriations were to be provided for the memorial and that the statue couldn’t be placed on the Mall or the Capitol grounds. The resolution passed 17 days later.

After the resolution passed the Darlington memorial committee handed over the entire process to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. The Commission invited six American sculptors to submit designs; 3 submitted designs. Carl Paul Jennewein’s design was chosen unanimously.

The memorial consists of a gilded, nude “Maiden and Fawn” on a marble water fountain. It was the first sculpture by Jennewein to be displayed in Washington, D.C. It was praised at the Architectural league in New York in 1922, and in Baltimore in the spring of 1923, where it was on display before being moved to Washington in November 1923.

However, immediately after the unveiling the sculptural group was being criticized.

According to a piece in The Washington Post by Josephine Tighe, the criticism was less about the art of the sculpture, or the the fact that the maiden was nude, and more about the appropriateness as a memorial. A well-known sculptor at the time, Ulric J. Dunbar, called it an “inane representation,” and then continued by saying that there is “…no symbolism that is apparent to an intelligent public. Works of art, and especially memorials, should symbolize the outstanding characteristics of the person commemorated and should carry these characteristics so plainly told that the ordinary passerby could interpret them. I knew Mr. Darlington very well and the statue, as it stands, is meaningless, so far as this able lawyer and kindly gentleman is concerned.”

In the same article, Frank Hogan, who served on the executive committee for the memorial, defended the memorial saying: “It was decided that a memorial symbolical and beautiful would not only serve to commemorate Darlington, but would be an adornment to one of the parks in the Nation’s Capital long after those whose good fortune it was to know him and what he looked like has passed away.”

“The memorial,” said Hogan, “consists of a marble fountain surmounted by a group, consisting of a maiden and a fawn, in which the artist has sought to symbolize humanity at its best.”

The statue was taken down and cleaned during the renovations of the Courthouse between 2002 and 2009.

References:

Births, Deaths, Marriages, The Washington Times, Tuesday, June 29, 1920

Supreme Court Adjourns for Funeral of Noted Lawyer, The Washington Herald., June 29, 1920, Page 7

Extolls Character of J.J. Darlington, The Washington Herald, August 1, 1920, page 3

Senator Proposes D.C. Darlington Monument, The Washington Times, Friday September 1, 1922

Senate Authorizes Darlington Memorial, The Washington Times, Tuesday September 19, 1922

Committee is named to honor Darlington: Fountain will be Dedicated in Judiciary Square this Month. The Washington Post, November 6, 1923

Comment on Darlington Memorial, by Josephine Tighe, The Washington Post, December 16, 1923, pg. 81