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.

200th Anniversary of the Battle of Ft. McHenry

After burning the Nation’s capital, the British head north to Baltimore and stay there from Sept 11-17, 1814. From Sept 13-14, 1814, Fort McHenry was under attack. It was during that time that F.S. Key wrote the Star Spanglaed Banner. There are many activities taking place this year throughout Maryland in remembrance of this (second) War of Independence from Britain.

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.


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

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