You can probably be excused if the existence of the Boy Scout Memorial doesn't light an immediate flame of recognition in your eyes. Its on the Ellipse (now called President's Park) and to be honest most people are on the way to try to get a few good pictures of the White House so they might easily miss this memorial.
The Memorial was inaugurated in 1964 and is the work of sculptor Donald De Lue. Interestingly, the majority of this sculptor's public work seems to have been confederate war memorials. It honors the Boy Scouts of America as well as the men and women that have guided the scouting movement.
The scout in the middle of the sculpture is interestingly the only one of the three figures that is fully dressed, something that stands out against the muscular half nudity of the male figure. The Boy Scout is thought to symbolize the virtues of good physical, mental and moral fitness as exemplified in the Boy Scout Oath. The male figure, presumably the father...carries a helmet. Why a helmet, usually a symbol of war, in a movement that is inherently peaceful. Perhaps that is the exemplification of patriotism, one of the central values of the Boy Scout movement. The female figure carries the eternal flame of God's Holy Spirit.
The Boy Scout movement in this country has become embroiled in continuing controversy based on the ideological orientation of its leadership and the interests behind that. Sad indeed
The President James Buchanan Monument is a small, off the beaten path memorial located at Meridian Hill Park. This seldom-visited monument was established in 1930, and funded by the former First Lady Harriet Lane (actually President Buchanan's niece.
Before becoming president, Buchanan served as a member of the Pennsylvania state assembly, 10 years in the US house of Representatives, 10 years in the US Senate, 2 years as the foreign minister to Russia, 4 years as the foreign minister to Great Britain, and 4 years as Secretary of State. Many experts consider him to be the most experienced and well-prepared US president ever.
As president, however, his successes were limited. He is blamed for failing to prevent the Civil War as he declared secession illegal, but war to prevent secession was also illegal. He was also president during the financial panic of 1857 and the Utah War (also called "Buchanan's Blunder").
Buchanan is the only American president to never be married. Instead of a first lady, he was helped by his niece Harriet Lane. She not only helped decorate the White House and entertain guests, but she also had many humanitarian causes such as prison reform, fair treatment of native Americans, and she was a nurse in the Civil War. She also opened the first children's hospital in Washington DC. Upon her death Harriet Lane left $100,000 for two monuments to be built for her favorite uncle, this one in DC and another in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania.
You were coming from seeing the new Martin Luther King Memorial and you hurried across the street (since there are few pedestrian crossings there) to the DC War Memorial. If you kept going youll be right at the end of West Potomac Park, the area directly adjacent to the Tidal Basin. There you will see a monument to someone that was clearly in the Revolutionary War judging by the way he was dressed. Well who is this man?
John Paul Jones (not to be confused with one of the members of Led Zeppelin) was the first American naval hero and reputed to be the father of the US Navy. Jones (1748-1792) was a Scottish sailor who first went to sea at age 13, starting out on various British ships, including slave ships. Interestingly, he settled in Virginia while taking care of his brothers affairs after his passing. He served bravely attacking in British waters.
Like so many other foreign born Revolutionary War heroes, J Paul Jones ended up back overseas after the war was over. He found himself in Paris with few employment options so he went to work in the Russian Imperial Navy. He died in Paris after service in Russia and his remains were transferred to the US in 1905.
His monument was erected in 1912. It is located at the end of 17th Street SW, right by the National Mall.
George Mason was a Revolutionary War patriot, member of the Virginia legislature, and delegate from Virginia to the U.S. Constitutional Convention. He is often called the "Father of the Bill of Rights" due to his insistence on the addition of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. He was also the principal creator of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, a model for the future U.S. Bill of Rights
John J "Black Jack" Pershing monument is located in Pershing Park, part of what is now Freedom Plaza. The funny thing is that everyone who comes to Washington passes by this park, its directly across the street from the Sherman monument next to the White House. Located at 14th and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Pershing (1860-1948) led the US Expeditionary Forces in World War I. He was the only one to be promoted to the rank of General of the Armies in his lifetime. Pershing served in the Indian Wars in the Southwest after receiving his commission in 1886. He chased Pancho Villa in the New Mexico territory, participated in the Spanish American War
The monument came about in a somewhat strange way. The whole Pennsylvania Avenue area was going to be redeveloped, which would necessitate the destruction of the Willard Hotel (right down the street from the White House) and several blocks of buildings. This idea for a National Plaza was never carried out. The monument to Pershing was opened in 1981.
The Park itself, and the monument is at the far end of it, is a quiet, shady place right in the middle of downtown DC bustle. It is a great place to stretch out and take a break from the heat if you have been touristting around the White House area.
At first glance this statue bears a striking resemblance to an English (or Continental) jurist of old, with the robes and wig. Since it is in front of the US Courthouse (E. Barrett Prettyman)you would certainly expect that the statue is of a noted jurist.
Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780) was an english judge and jurist noted for writing "Commentaries on the Laws of England,." a complete overview of British law to that point. Not being a lawyer I really couldn't tell you much about this work.
So why is there a statue of him here in Washington? Well, Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England profoundly influenced many of the early judicial and political leaders of the American republic, particularly as common law is concerned. The early Supreme Court relied heavily on the Commentaries and even today uses them as references in some of their cases.
Location- Constitution Avenue and 3rd St NW
This is a somewhat different monument. The fountain was given to the city by Dr Henry Cogswell in 1882. He believed that providing clean drinking water would keep people from drinking alcoholic beverages. The Women's Christian Temperance Union later went forward with Cogswell's ideas, trying to implement more drinking fountains. Part of the reason for these fountains was that at the time beer was in many ways safer than water, tea and coffee were too expensive.
On the four sides of the fountain are the words: Faith, Hope, Charity and Temperance. The water came out of the snouts of two intertwined dolphins. On top is a heron.
Eventually the city disconnected the water pipes as it cost too much for keep it up.
Today the fountain is located at 7th and Indiana Avenue, across from the Navy Memorial. Interestingly, for a long time it was located directly in front of a liquor store.
A lot of people seem to think this is one of the ugliest memorials in the city (at least visually). What do you think?
John Marshall (1755-1835) was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was a powerful orator and distinguished legislator from the state of Virginia. He was a lawyer and Revolutionary Hero and later served as Secretary of State in the Adams administration. He became Chief Justice in 1801 and is credited with making the Supreme Court the final word in law in this country and for making the judiciary the third and equal arm of government in our system.
Located walking distance from The Captol and near the Supreme Court building and the Smithsonian. Around the corner from the Canadian Embassy.
Metro- Judiciary Square
If you are on your way to the Jefferson Memorial, make this tiny little detour. Off to the left, in West Potomac Park, is the memorial to George Mason. It really is easy to see how a lot of people never get to see this memorial. It is labelled, but its not a very big memorial so you can easily miss it. Dedicated in 2002 by President Bush, it is one of the newer Memorials.
George Mason (1725-1792) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights and served in the Constitutional Convention. He did not, however, sign the Constitution because it did not ban the further importation of slaves and did not afford the individual sufficient protection from government. Interestingly. Mason was a Virginia planter, and a slaveholder, however he did not want slavery to be spread to any new states.
A true Renaissance Man, Mason had no formal education and had educated himself from his uncles library.
Most visitors to Washington might have heard Farragut North, which is a stop on the Red Line (Connecticut Ave & K Street). To locals this is at the center of the city, right in the middle of the K Street Corridor where there are lots of law and professional offices. This area has been cleaned up considerably in the last 20 years, a lot of new tall buildings and a general sprucing up.
For the tourist this is a good place to rest, there is a nice shaded park close to plenty of restaurants, across the street from the Metro. If you want to get off at Farragut North all you have to do is walk across the park, cross over and you will be by the White House.
In the middle of the park is the statue of Admiral David Farragut, a Union admiral in the Civil War. He is famous for having said- damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.
Oddly, the statue of Farragut says nothing at all about him, just "Farragut"
President's Park today is what used to be called the Ellipse before. Ordinarily, you sort of expect memorials and monuments in important locations like this to be of soldiers, statesmen or others of great stature, right?
This fountain, which really gives you no particular clue as to why it was erected, memorializes Archibald Butt and David Francis Millet. If neither of those names rings a bell, they shouldn't.
Archibald Butt was a captain in the Quartermaster Corps. He had served in Cuba and the Philippines and was later military aide to President Taft. Mr Millet was Butt's housemate/friend.
Anyway, the two died aboard the HMS Titanic and both went down with the ship. Millet's body was later recovered, no mention of Butt's body being recovered.
So the fountain was erected, and paid for by a number of influential friends and connections to memorialize their deaths. Interesting. I guess good connections can do pretty much anything, eh?
Location President's Park (northwest quadrant. right by the First Division Memorial
This small memorial honors Law Enforcement officers in the Washington DC metropolitan area who died in the line of duty.
In memory of those who have given their lives in dedicated service to their community. Their sacrifices secure our personal liberties
Ladies Auxiliary Fraternal Order of Police
Jerrard F Young Lodge No. 1-F, D.C. May 12, 1980
Located at the Municipal Center in Washington DC, D and 3rd St, NW
Metro- Judiciary Square
This memorial honors the memory of over 19,000 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. The Memorial was dedicated in 1991 and every year on May 13, during National Police Week, there is a Candlelight Vigil where they add the new names to the wall. The names belong to law enforcement officers from state,local and federal branches.
Family members and friends will go to pay respects. Please be respectful. This is a very emotional place. Unfortunately, this memorial, and I think it is an important one, is a bit out of the way. The information office/visitor center is a few blocks away- a somewhat disjointed effort really. I personally would have liked it more if they had someone there on site to provide information.
THE WICKED FLEE
WHEN NO MAN PURSUETH
BUT THE RIGHTEOUS
ARE BOLD AS A LION
(on Northeast corner of the memorial)
Location- behind the National Building Museum.
Metro- Judiciary Square
Forgive me for doing a "drive by" of a national monument with my camera. I will be back when I'm with a few others to actually explore the place, but by yourself in Anacostia is not where you want to be unless you want to see a real drive by.
The historic site is the home Frederick Douglass purchased in 1877 and named Cedar Hill. Frederick Douglass was a great American, an escaped slave, an abolitionist and proponent for emancipation and later civil rights, and even a Vice Presidential Candidate.
As you could expect by the grandeur of the mansion, Douglass lived at this house later in his life after he had become famous. During his time at Cedar Hill, Douglass was appointed a United States Marshal in 1877, he was appointed Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia in 1881, and his wife, Anna Murray Douglas, died in 1882. Later he married a white woman named Helen Pitts then in the 1888 Republican National Convention Douglass received the first delegate vote for president ever given to a black man.
Douglass died in Washington, DC in 1895 at the age of 77.
Ft Stevens formed part of Washington's defenses during the Civil War. In July 1864, the bulk of the Union Army was invading Virginia, leaving the capital poorly defended. Confederate troops led by General Jubal A. Early tried to take the city, but were repulsed here at this fort by newly arrived reinforcements.
When President Lincoln learned of the battle, he headed to Ft Stevens to see it in person. A nearby Union officer observed him, and yelled out "Get down, you fool!" That was Oliver Wendell Holmes, later a Supreme Court Justice. So Abraham Lincoln became the only sitting US President to come under enemy fire during wartime.
Located at 13th and Quackenbos Streets, NW. This was in the countryside north of the city, but is now a residential neighborhood.