“A good Navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guaranty of peace.”
Standing in a lonely traffic circle west of the U.S. Capitol building is a memorial that has come to be called the Peace Monument. Most of the visitors it receives have come to see the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, and few know that it stands in honor of the naval war dead of the American Civil War.
“Peace won by compromise is usually a short lived achievement.”
Scott Circle sits at the intersection of 16th St. NW, Massachusetts Ave., and Rhode Island Ave. To the east is the Samuel Hahnemann monument and to the west is Daniel Webster’s monument. Thousands pass by it daily, though few know of the contributions of General Winfield Scott (or his legacy), whose equestrian statue stands in its center.
Less than 1,000 feet south of the Lincoln Memorial at the southern terminus of 23rd St is a forgotten monument honoring the memory of the inventor of the USS Monitor, America’s first ironclad warship. Sitting on a tear-drop-shaped traffic island, John Ericsson’s memorial is cut off from pedestrians and tourists by traffic coming into and out of Arlington.
“This Memorial is less for Abraham Lincoln than those of us today, and for those who follow after.”
The Lincoln Memorial is the most visited monument in Washington, D.C. According to the National Park Service statistics, nearly 8 million people visited the memorial in 2015. The site is open to the public all day, every day, and it is rare to see it without any visitors. Thousands of drivers pass it every day coming to or from Arlington or West Potomac Park.
Plans for the construction of a monument to Lincoln began less than three years after his death. Clark Mills – the sculptor of the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Park and George Washington’s at Washington Circle – was chosen for the task. His design called for a monument 70 feet high with 36 bronze sculptures, including six equestrian statues. At the top would have been Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation. The monument, which would have stood next to the Capitol, was never made due to a lack of funds.
“Death comes to all, but great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold.”
Most prominent among the statuary found around Washington are those of Civil War generals. Of the 18 grouped together by the National Register of Historic Places, half of them are equestrian statues. Only three of the non-equestrian statues are dedicated to a single individual. Not included on the list – but more than worthy of inclusion – is the African American Civil War Memorial that was completed 70 years after the last memorial was built.
Ten of the 18 monuments had dedication ceremonies that were attended by sitting presidents; three didn’t even have a ceremony. The first was dedicated in 1874 (nine years after the end of the war) and the last (before the African American Civil War Memorial was built) was dedicated in 1927. Read more for quick facts about these 19 monuments. Continue reading “Civil War Monuments”→
“We will stand by the flag of our country and appeal to the God of Battles!”
In a quiet park in Foggy Bottom, between 18th and 19th Streets NW, stands the statue of General John A. Rawlins. South of the General Services Administration and north of the Department of the Interior, the park doesn’t see many visitors even though it has a fountain, two reflecting pools, and plenty of benches. The park is also lined with tulip magnolias, which put on a vivid show of pink blossoms in March.
Thomas Circle sits on the intersections of 14th Street NW, M Street NW, Massachusetts Avenue, and Vermont Avenue. To the north are the trendier blocks of 14th Street, and to the south is the heart of downtown D.C. While Thomas Circle doesn’t define its neighborhood the way Du Pont Circle or Logan Circle do, it has its own personality. The National City Christian Church dominates the circle while the rest is ringed by businesses and hotels. Visit the rooftop bar of the Donovan hotel for an amazing view of the circle and the District.
npcc.30408 Thomas Circle National Photo Company 1922