Tag Archives: Washington D.C.

Jack Swigert – an American hero

Combat pilot, test pilot, astronaut and elected to Congress – it was quite a life for John Leonard “Jack” Swigert, Jr. A bronze statue of the Colorado Congressman-to-be stands in the Capitol Visitors Center. Made by George and Mark Lundeen, … Continue reading

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Oscar A. Strauss Memorial Fountain at Reagan Building

The Oscar A. Strauss Memorial Fountain at the Reagan Building along 14th St. N.W. was 20 years in the making. It was time well spent. Strauss was a German immigrant in the 1850s who become one of the top U.S. … Continue reading

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Did the Truth set her free?

Born into slavery in 1797, Isabella Baumfree was the first of 13 siblings to be sold at auction at age nine. There would be four more owners over the next two decades. Finally, after an owner reneged on a promise … Continue reading

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Bullfinch Gatehouses now protects Ellipse

The Bullfinch Gatehouses certainly get around. Now at Constitution Ave. and 15th and 17th Streets, the two gatehouses were once on the western edge of the U.S. Capitol grounds from 1828-74. Named for Charles Bullfinch, a prominent Boston architect before … Continue reading

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By the shores of gitchigoomie

Maybe it’s ironic that the man who wrote “Paul Revere’s Ride” is remembered in the middle of a busy intersection. A bronze statue of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is at Connecticut and M Sts. N.W., one of the busier crossroads in … Continue reading

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Lincoln and Lee – the myth and photo

OK, let me mess with your mind. One of the stories of the Lincoln Memorial is Robert E. Lee is in the back of Abe’s hair looking at the Southern general’s mansion across the river. It makes for a good … Continue reading

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Whooping Cranes bring wilds to downtown

Walking down 16th & O Sts. NW, I was drawn to an unexpected one-acre park where a stainless steel sculpture of two 12-foot tall whooping cranes draw you in. Wait . . . what? Kent Ullberg created the cranes in … Continue reading

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Where Bex eagles soar

John “Black Jack” Pershing Park has it all. A statue of the famed World War I general. A waterfall not seen from the street that gives it a hidden oasis feel. And, an American eagle statue on the corner of … Continue reading

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The Watergate Steps to nowhere along the Potomac

It was supposed to be a staircase to heaven, but turned into a  helluva waste. The Watergate Steps between the Potomac River and the Lincoln Memorial was built in 1932 as part of the Arlington Memorial Bridge complex. According to … Continue reading

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The Warren Court

Sculptor Phillip Ratner once taught school in Washington for 23 years. Now he’s one of the nation’s more respected multimedia artists. Ratner has five sculptures at the Statue of Liberty, 40 at Ellis Island and others at the Smithsonian, Library … Continue reading

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Handscaping U.S. Capitol grounds was visionary

Give Frederick Law Olmsted credit — he didn’t miss a thing. When landscaping the U.S. Capitol grounds in 1874, Olmstead wanted to create things that were both aesthetic and functional. The walls were low so the public could see over … Continue reading

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A window underseas – World War II Submarine Memorial

It is a window to nowhere and to the seven seas. The World War II Submarine Memorial honoring those who served in the “Silent Service” faces the U.S. Navy Memorial near the Lone Sailor statue. The stained-glass window with a … Continue reading

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The Maine Lobsterman along the waterfront

There are no lobsters in Washington aside the ones in restaurants. Plenty of crabs from nearby Maryland, but the seven-foot statue on Sixth and Water Sts. SW along the waterfront shows a Maine waterman “pegging” lobsters by tying their claws. … Continue reading

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The general of them all – Alexander Macomb

It’s not often you’ll see a monument with Greek, Roman and Egyptian markings, but Gen. Alexander Macomb’s 14-foot marker at Congressional Cemetery has them all. The general is surrounded by four lions paws. A sword for his military career, cross … Continue reading

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Gold thieves — beware the griffins

Plenty of treasure hunters come to Washington looking for riches, but the guardians are always there to protect our gold. Two Acacia Griffins protect the Acacia Mutual Life Insurance Building at 51 Louisiana Ave. N.W. in the shadow of the … Continue reading

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Righting a wrong in American history

Our country has plenty of ugly moments. Slavery and the American Indian wars were the 19th century blunders that we thought were behind us. And then World War II came with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Suddenly, 112,000 Japanese-American … Continue reading

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The other Taft – Robert A. Taft Memorial

Everyone knows my distant cousin William Howard Taft, the 26th U.S. president and the fattest person to ever serve in the White House. Figure I’d inherit that bloodline. But few remember his son Robert A. Taft whose accomplishments earned an … Continue reading

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Sometimes attractions are in the bank

You can’t miss the gigantic vault door in the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott Washington Convention Center on 9th and F Sts. N.W. The one-time home of Riggs Bank was built in 1891. It was quite the place with vaulted … Continue reading

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Figure for Landscape makes you figure it out

This is not a Henry Moore piece despite being next to two of the British sculptor’s works on 7th and Jefferson N.W. But, it’s the next closest thing as fellow Brit Barbara Hepworth’s “Figure for Landscape” follows Moore’s 20th century … Continue reading

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JFK bust just one example of Berks’ excellence

My favorite sculptor around town is Robert Berks, which saddens to think we never met before he died in 2011. But, as they say, his work lives on. My favorite Berks’ work among 17 in the Washington area is his … Continue reading

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