James Cardinal Gibbons

Memorial: James Gibbons (July 23, 1834 – March 24, 1921)
Unveiling: August 14, 1932, 3:30 p.m.
Location: Sixteen Street and Park Road, NW
Sculptor: Leo Lentelli
Cost: No cost to the United States, donated by the Knights of Columbus

The unveiling coincided with the golden jubilee convention of the Knights of Columbus, who gave dedicated the statue and presented it to the United States. Approximately 20,000 members of the Knights of Columbus and other Catholic organizations turned out for the parade and the dedication ceremony.

The unveiling of the statue to Cardinal Gibbons was broadcast on the national radio network. President Hoover addressed the assembly and accepted the statue on behalf of the United States.

Martin H. Carmody, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, presented the memorial, and the Most Rev. John M. McNamara, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore made an address. The unveiling was performed by a grandniece of the late cardinal. There was also a papal delegate at the ceremony, the Most Rev. Peter Fumasoni-Biondi, who delivered the invocation and blessed the ceremony.

James Gibbons was born in Baltimore. And, although he grew up in Ireland, he came back to Maryland for his education. He was ordained a priest in 1861. Gibbons later became an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Richmond from 1872 to 1877, and as ninth Archbishop of Baltimore from 1877 until his death in 1921. Gibbons was elevated to the cardinalate in 1886, the second American to receive that distinction, after John McCloskey.

The idea of a statue to Gibbons originated with Charles W. Darr, the Knights of Columbus State deputy supreme of the District. In 1928, seven years after his death, a joint bill was introduced in the House and Senate by Representative Fred N. Zihlman, of Maryland, and Senator Millard A. Tydings, of Maryland, authorizing the memorial. It was unanimously passed by Congress and approved by President Coolidge on April 23, 1928.

The resolution called for the memorial to be placed at 16th Street and Park Road on Government ground opposite the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. And the memorial was to be funded through contributions from the Knights of Columbus.

Because the Knights of Columbus were paying for the memorial they organized the judging of the initial models. The monument to Cardinal Gibbons was selected from a group of five models submitted by leading sculptors and approved by the Knights of Columbus committee for the memorial and the Fine Arts Commission of the District.

The plan for the memorial called for the Knights of Columbus to contribute all the funds for the statue.


James Gibbons, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Gibbons

Catholic Memorial on U.S. Land Proposed, The Washington Post, January 6, 1928, pg. 20

Gibbons Statue Board Chosen, The Washington Post, May 1, 1928, pg. 3

K. of C. to Unveil Statue on Aug. 14: Late James Cardinal Gibbons, The Washington Post, June 6, 1932, pg. 8

Hoover to Accept Cardinal’s Statue, The Washington Post, Jul. 21, 1932, pg. 14

Gibbons’ Work Highly Lauded at Statue Rite, The Washington Post, Aug 15, 1932, pg. 1

Radio Dial Flashes. By ROBERT D. HEINL. The Washington Post, 14 Aug 1932: A2.

Edmund Burke

Statue: Edmund Burke, January 12, 1729, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, Died: July 9, 1797, Beaconsfield, UK
Location: Massachusetts Avenue between 11th and 10th Streets, NW
Dedication: 3:00 p.m., October 12, 1922
Sculptor: James Havard Thomas (recast from Bristol, England statue)
Architect: Horace Peasley, Washington, DC
Cost to Taxpayers: $0, gift of the Sulgrave Institution

Edmund Burke, stalwart supporter of the American Revolution, was born in Ireland, educated at Trinity College Dublin where he formed a debate club that is still around (making it the oldest, continuous, active club in the world), and then moved to England and served in the House of Commons.

The statue, located in the triangle park formed by Massachusetts Avenue, L Street,, between 11th and 10th Streets, NW, was a gift to the United States by the Sulgrave Institute of England.

The statue dedication was held on October 12, 1922. A British delegation came over for the ceremony. And Sir Charles Wakefield former Lord Mayor of London and treasurer of the Sulgrave Institute delivered the address.

The memorial project was approved by the Commission of Fine Arts on March 31, 1922, and the site was approved on July 21, 1922.  The statue is a replica of one in Bristol, England, that was unveiled there in 1894. The statue is in bronze and depicts Burke in the middle of a speech.



“Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom”

The inscription above, located on the front of the pedestal, comes from Burke’s famous speech “Conciliation with America”. The complete quote reads “Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great emprie and little minds go ill together.”

Below is the inscription on the back of the pedestal.

This statue — A copy of the work of Harvard Thomas in the city of Bristol, England was a presented through the Sulgrave Institution to the people of America by Sir Charles Cheers Wakefield Baronet formerly Lord Mayor of London…. Erected A.D. 1922.

The Sulgrave Institute takes its name from the Sulgrave Manor in England, the ancestral home of the Washington family. Members include Americans, Englishmen, and Canadians with the purpose of promoting friendly relations among their nations’. In 1922 the Sulgrave Institute also presented a bust of William Pitt to the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in September 1922 and a statue of Viscount Bryce, historian, statesmen and author of The American Commonwealth in October 1922, at the Capitol building, to the United States at no expense to the taxpayer.



The Burke Statue. The Washington Post, 15 Mar 1922: 6

Burke Statue Site Decided: Will Face Eleventh on Triangle. Begin on Titanic Memorial. The Washington Post, 21 July 1922: 2

Burke Statue Erected; Unveiling to be October 12: Gift of Former London Mayor Through Sulgrave Institute. Temporary Pedestal Used. The Washington Post, 24 Sep
1922: 13

John Barry

Statue: John Barry (March 25, 1745 – September 13, 1803)
Location: 14th Street, NW, Franklin Square Park (west side)
Sculptor: John J. Boyle, New York
Unveiling: May 16, 1914
Cost to taxpayers: $50,000

The idea of erecting a statue of Commodore Barry was first suggested by Archbishop Ireland (his name) during a banquet of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in New York and furthered by the Emmet Club of Washington, D.C. A bill was introduced in Congress by Representative Driscoll of Saratoga, New York, in August 1902 to appropriate a sum of $25,000 for the purpose of a statue. It wasn’t, however, until 1906 when Congress appropriated $50,000 for the memorial and statue.

The first go at a statue for John Barry was held in April 1908 when a competition was opened for 25 American sculptors of Irish descent. Of the 25, seven sent in designs, these were whittled to three designs and then in February 1909 Andrew O’Connor was selected as the competition winner and he sent in his final design in June 1909.

This initial design and a subsequent remodel were rejected due to opposition by the Ancient Order of Hibernian and other Irish societies. Finally John J. Boyle, of New York, was asked to submit a model. The first model that Boyle entered was rejected but his second was ultimately accepted as the final model for the sculpture that is located in Franklin Square.

The statue was based on the only portrait known to exist – that by Gilbert Stuart which hangs in the statehouse in Philadelphia – and captures Barry in 1802 as a 57 year-old in poor health, not as a young sea captain.

The statue shows Barry in uniform, with a cloak thrown over his shoulders. His right hand rests on his sheathed sword, the point of which is on the ground. His left arm hangs naturally and his head is turned  a little to the right.The emblem of the Society of the Cincinnati is featured on his left breast. Barry was an original member of the Pennsylvania Society of the Cincinnati institute October 4, 1783.

The figure will stand on a marble pedestal. on the front side of the shaft with her back to it will stand a figure of Victory, and underneath, on the base, will be the only inscription on the statue:

John Barry
Commodore of the United States Navy
Born County Wexford, Ireland, 1745
Died in Philadelphia 1803

There is a stone base of 30 feet that originally was landscaped with bushes – but those have been trimmed back in recent years.

Just before the unveiling Admiral George Dewey, who had been asked to give a speech at the unveiling, noticed that Barry’s back was to the street. Dewey said that a brave officer like Commodore Barry never faced the rear so the state was turned around before the dedication.

John Barry was born in Tacumshane, County Wexford, one of Ireland’s foremost fighting counties, in 1745. He moved to Philadelphia when he was 15 years of and became a sailor. At the start of the Revolutionary War he immediately signed up for service and was put in command of the Lexington, the first vessel that carried the American flag on the ocean, and soon afterward captured a British was vessel called Edward.

During the winter hiatus of 1776-1777 when thick ice stopped naval fighting, John Barry commanded a company of volunteers and assisted with operations in Trenton, NJ.

Commodore Barry died in Philadelphia on September 13, 1803 and was buried at St. Mary’s churchyard. One part of the inscription, composed by Dr. Benjamin Rush, reads: “In the Revolutionary war, which established the independence of the United States, he bore an early and active part as captain in their navy, and afterward became its commander-in-chief.”

He has been referred to by historians as commodore, but he was never commissioned so that title is a courtesy. He was, however, the first captain of the American sea force, and therefore, often referred to as the Father of American Navy.

For many years during the 1920s the Sons of the Revolution Commemorated Barry’s Birth by placing flowers at the statue. (1924, 1926, 1927).


Want a Barry Statue: Association Thanks Those Who are Prominently Identified in Movement., The Washington Post, 09 June 1906: 11

Barry Statue Contract: John J. Boyle, of New York, to Erect $50,000 Memorial Here., The Washington Post, 13 Dec 1911: 14.

President Enthusiastic in his Speech Praising the Deeds of John Barry Dedicating Naval Statue in Memory, The Washington Post, 17 May 1914: 7

Robert Emmet

Robert Emmet (Irish): 4 March 1778 – 20 September 1803
Location: triangle park, Massachusetts Ave, 24nd Street, and S Streets, NW
Sculptor: Jerome Connor, Washington, D.C.
Cost: paid for by subscriptions to Irish-American societies
Dedication:  June 28, 1917 (to the Smithsonian Institute)
Re-dedication:  April 22, 1966 (gifted to the National Park Service)

During a meeting, in 1904, of the Emmet Club and the United Irish Societies in the District of Columbia on the 126th anniversary of the birth of Robert Emmet, the group resolved to “appeal to the American patriotism” to erect statues to Irish-Americans who had served the United States.

In 1913 the Arts and Industry Building, first know as the United States National Museum of the Smithsonian Institution agreed to accept a statue of Robert Emmet to be placed in its rotunda. In 1917 the statue was finished and the unveiling was scheduled for June 28 at the Museum of Natural History.

President Woodrow Wilson, cabinet members, diplomats, and members of Congress were at the unveiling of the Emmet statue. A committee of American citizens of Irish birth presented the American government with the statue.

The statue, sculpted by Jerome Connor, an Irishman living in Washington, D.C., was cast at the Washington navy yard, the first statue to be cast in the District of Columbia.

After its unveiling the bronze statue, standing 7-feet tall, was placed in the rotunda of the Museum of Natural History until 1964 when it was taken down and placed in storage. In 1966 the statue of Robert Emmet was taken out of storage and placed at the triangle park at Massachusetts Avenue and 24th Street, NW as part of the National Park Service’s Capital Beautification program. The dedication coincided with celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Irish independence.

About Robert Emmet: Robert Emmet is revered by many Irish and hailed as one of the great revolutionaries for Irish independence.  At the age of 25 he led rebellion against British rule in 1803 and was captured, tried and executed.

His speech when convicted, is regarded by the Irish as a classic, particularly the closing paragraph:

“I have but a few more words to say — I am going to my cold and silent grave — my lamp of life is nearly extinguished — I have parted with everything that is dear to me in this life, for my country’s cause; with the idol of my soul, the object of of my affections. My race is run, the grave opens to receive me, and I sink into its bosom. I have but one request to make, at my departure from this world– it is the charity of its silence. Let no man write my epitaph: for as no man, who knows my motives, dare now vindicate them, let not prejudice nor ignorance asperse them. Let them rest in obscurity and peace. Let my memory be left in oblivion, and my tomb remain uninscribed until other times and other men can do justice to my character; when my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not until then, let my epitaph be written. I am done.”

Robert Emmet, Irish Patriot, to be Honored in Washington, The Washington Post, Feb. 9, 1913, pg ES1

Irish will present statue of patriot, The Washington Post, June 19, 1917

Irish Rebel’s Statue to be Unveiled, The Washington Post, April 12, 1966

See also:Wikipedia entry for Robert Emmet