Monumental, The Mall

Monumental: John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones

Where 17th Street dead-ends in Independence Avenue, just to the south of the World War II Memorial, stands John Paul Jones, atop a Marble Platform. The monument, built in 1912 as the first in Potomac Park, stands as the memorial to our first great Naval hero. While his remains lie in the chapel of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, this memorial to Captain Jones stands looking North toward the White House.

Jones was born John Paul, a Scotsman who emigrated to the Colonies around the start of the Revolutionary War. He served aboard British merchant ships prior to his arrival in the Colonies, and had been master and commander of the brig John, where his troubles began. By the time he arrived in Fredericksburg, he’d had to assume another name, John Paul Jones, to avoid hanging for the murder of two sailors under his command: one through flogging, one through a swordfight over wages.
Continue reading


Monumental: The Pentagon 9/11 Memorial

Photo courtesy of Me

Pentagon 911 Memorial

You don’t need me to tell you about the history of this memorial. If you’re old enough to read this then you have some memories of the day that necessitated it. I don’t know that this town has ever put up a site paying homage to lives lost so recently; the opening ceremony was just last month, 7 years to the day after American Airlines flight 77 slammed into the side of the Pentagon. The same side where this park sits.

Nothing unusual about that; a short drive out into Virginia on 66 will take you to locations where pivotal battles in our history occurred. What is unusual is that at the Pentagon, business goes on just as it did on September 10th, 2001. Except now the world’s largest office building – where picture taking is banned even in the parking lot – now has a tourist attraction on its grounds.

Going there, you get the clear feeling that they’re not sure how to deal with that fact. Continue reading

Monumental, The Hill

Monumental: Lincoln Park


Lincoln Park on East Capitol Street between 11th and 13th is an idyllic little piece of real estate. Surrounded by old victorian rowhouses, the two-block wide park has plenty of grass and some lovely walking paths, and two monuments that I found fascinating. I decided not to choose which one, but rather share them both: the Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial, and the Emancipation Memorial.

Continue reading


Monumental: Hahnemann Memorial

 Dr. Samuel Hahnemann courtesy Flickr user kimberlyfaye
Dr. Samuel Hahnemann courtesy Flickr user kimberlyfaye

On the East side of Scott Circle at Massachusetts Ave. and Rhode Island Ave. NW, there’s a wide concrete and bronze monument to German physician Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. What an odd thing to memorialize in the capital of the United States, I thought. I vaguely recognized the name because of a high school friend who had been accepted to a medical school named for Dr. Hahnemann, but that was the extent of my knowledge. But as in all things, the Internet knows all.

Continue reading


Monumental: Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben

Photo courtesy of Me

DSC_0077, courtesy of Me

The statute memorializing America’s first drill sergeant sits in the northwest corner of President’s Park, as the area immediately north of the White House is commonly know. [fixed, thanks Kate!] Lafayette Park, as the north end of President’s Park above the White House is commonly known. Of course, most of us know it most commonly as the place the whackos highly dedicated stand outside in punishing weather to make their statements about our government’s choices. That’s assuming, of course, that we think of it at all as we use it as a byway between 17th and 15th street on our way somewhere else.

Ol’ Freddie sits far away from where the protesters and tourists would get a chance to see him, and that’s a shame on many levels. First and foremost, the North end of President’s Park is shady and green in the summer, a welcome change from the stark and open concrete expanse in front of the White House where the tourists pose. I took my shots there on a day when I walked down from Dupont along Connecticut Avenue and on to the Smithsonian, and my pass through the park was a nice shady respite from the hot July day.

Photo courtesy of Me

This shot faces south towards the White House, just off to the side of the monument.

Beyond that aesthetic aspect, however, is the fact that von Steuben was arguably pivotal in America’s success in staying independent after declaring itself to be a sovereign nation. Continue reading

Monumental, The Mall

Monumental: DC War Memorial

World War I Memorial by oberonindc

Hidden away from the Reflecting Pool stands a Doric-columned white marble dome, inscribed with the names of 499 men and women from the District of Columbia who never made it home from fields of Ypres and the end of The Great War. The monument, dedicated on Armistice Day, 1931, by President Hoover, was built to fit The President’s Own, and John Philip Sousa lead the band on the occasion. Playing The Stars and Strips Forever, the Band dedicated the memorial to those lost in combat abroad.

The memorial, granted by Act of Congress in 1924, was built with $200,000 in private donations, given by citizens of the District. Architect Frederick H. Brooke designed the edifice to be built using Vermont Marble from the Danby quarry, and the committee planted a grove of hardwood trees to surround the memorial.

Continue reading

Media, Monumental, The Daily Feed

WaPo guest blogs Monumental

Well, not really. Tom’s second in our ongoing feature on the monuments in our city goes live at 2p today (see the first – about Farragut Square – here), but today’s Washington Post Weekend section contains a story called 10 memorable memorials. They’re some interesting picks, and worth suffering through the bad interface on the website to look at… though only barely. 4 lines at a time, really? More curious than the painful web layout is that the print edition uses different photos for the Kermit and Victims of Communism monuments.

On the other hand, reading it online can allow you to compare some of WaPo’s shots with what’s available on Flickr. Most notable is how different an impression you get from the Post’s close-up shot of the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism than this wide shot by user kimberlyfaye. I also like Aaron Webb’s shot of George Mason chatting with this fellow, apparently in town for a lumberjack blogger convention. (I kid, Mike – love the tuque! But no matter what, don’t miss andertho’s shot of the Titanic memorial, which puts WaPo’s to shame.

Other quick searches here, here, here, here, and here, plus shots of multiple versions from around the world of the Spitir of Haida Gwaii here.

All Politics is Local, Monumental, Penn Quarter, The District

Monumental: GAR Stephenson Memorial

Monumental: Stephenson GAR Monument

While the Grand Army of the Republic might seem like something out of a bad pulp science fiction story, it’s also something that’s fairly real to American History. The monument to it, and its founder, stand just off Pennsylvania Avenue in Penn Quarter. The Grand Army was a fraternal organization established in 1866 for retired soldiers of the Union Army, and stood in existence until 1956, when its last member died. It was super-ceded by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, founded in 1881 to preserve the mission of the original organization.

The GAR was one of the more powerful political organizations in the late 19th century, helping to establish Old Soldiers’ Homes, which would later become the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. In addition, their organization was partly responsible for establishing the Memorial Day Holiday at the end of May, as part of their Decoration Day campaign.

Continue reading

Essential DC, Monumental, The Daily Feed, The Mall

Schmap Guides

Schmap makes interactive map/tour-book hybrid guides that you can reach on the web or download to your computer or iphone. You can click on map-points to see places of interest (with photos solicited from local Flickr photographers), directions, and information.

The D.C. edition seems like a great choice for those going out on “local tourism” adventures, but trying to keep touristy image to a minimum.

Many editions exist for cities around the world and all are available for free. An updated version of the Washington guide will be published mid-August.

Adventures, Downtown, Featured Photo, Monumental, The Daily Feed, The Mall

Shooting the Monuments

Abstract Jungle
Originally uploaded by Ghost_Bear

Coming up this Saturday, July 12, the Washington Photo Safari is having their next Monuments and Memorials event. Led by architectural photographer E. David Luria, it’s a great way to spend the morning shooting various landmarks in the city and learning some great photo tips and techniques along the way.

I’ve been on some of these and they’re fantastic. Mr. Luria is extremely personable and a great photo guide; he’s quite capable of enhancing your photography skills, regardless of whether you use a simple point-and-shoot or a complex SLR digital camera. It’s well worth the money spent. (Transportation for this one is provided and covered by the fee.)

There’s a lot of events by the WPS; check out their calendar for other possible ideas. And maybe I’ll see you there!

Downtown, Monumental, The District

Monumental: Farragut Square


In the middle of downtown DC sits a park named for Admiral David Farragut. Two metro stations bear his name, and the square that surrounds the park and his monument is home to many a lunching downtown worker. The statue that stands at the center of the square, of a sailor with spyglass, atop a platform with four mortars. I walked through that square once a day for over a year, each day tipping my hat to the Admiral who shouted, “Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead!”

But actually, the full of the quote, at least as it’s attributed by Wikipedia, was: “Damn the torpedoes! Four bells. Captain Drayton, go ahead. Jouett, full speed!” And so they went, into Mobile Bay to capture the last free port in the South in 1864. They overcame the massive barrage from Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, and defeated the Confederate Navy.

Continue reading