July 7 and 11, 2022
Our purpose in going in to the District was [you might guess] to claim some geocaches. We attended a geocaching meet and greet with about 10 other people, snapped a screen shot of us waving at a webcam, took a selfie at the oldest geocache in Washington, D.C., and generally enjoyed being in our nation’s capital again after 22 years.
Shortly after getting off the Metro, we saw this march to call attention to the plight of the Amharic people in Ethiopia.
The National Archives building was designed by John Russell Pope. [He also designed the Masonic Temple which we feature later in this post.] We liked two sculptures in front of the Archives.
“Past” was sculpted by Robert Aiken carved in about 1935 from a 65-ton piece of Indiana marble. It features an old man holding a closed book and its inscription paraphrases Confucius: “Study the past if you would divine the future”.
“Future” is also the work of Robert Aiken and was also carved from a single piece of Indiana limestone. The subject is a young woman holding an open book of what has yet to be written. The inscription reads “What is Past is Prologue” from William Shakespeae’s “Tempest”.
When Frederick Law Olmsted designed the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, he provided a Summer House for visitors to rest and have a drink of water. The facility has fallen into disrepair.
The Neptune Fountain was sculpted by Roland Hinton Perry and is in front of the Library of Congress. [Perry also sculpted the Peace Monument which we saw in June on a visit to Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee.] The fountain is 50 feet wide and was commissioned in 1895.
A cache we claimed at the Neptune Fountain was called “I Am the God of Leaky Caches and Soggy Logs” and required that visiting cachers leave a tribute to ensure their caches will remain dry. We left a virtual shell.
The Capitol is under renovation so our photos are from the back and sides.
We met then-Senator Bob Graham near these steps on a visit with our daughter Leigh’s school group in 1999.
“O Say Can You See” by Patrick Dougherty was featured outside the U.S. Botanic Garden.
The sculpture is woven of Siberian elm, Norway maple, cherry hybrids and willow and commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Garden’s original 1820 charter.
There wasn’t a cache in the Botanic Garden but we enjoyed a walk through and were grateful for the rest rooms there. Pineapples graced the sinks.
We paid particular attention to desert landscaping since we now spend our winters in Arizona. We liked the idea of placing cacti on rocks, even if we’ve never seen them growing that way in the desert.
We also liked these varieties of cactus. We have a couple of these in our yard in Casa Grande but they are MUCH smaller.
One of the Garden’s Corpse Flowers was in bloom. Corpse flowers have the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world. There are only about 1,000 of these plants in the wild. Plants are typically 7-10 years old before they produce a bloom that lasts for only two days. The bloom smells like rotting animals to attract pollinators.
We learned about the Smithsonian’s founding. English chemist and mineralogist James E. Smithson (1765-1829) left his estate to be used “to found in Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men”. The bequest was 105,960 gold sovereigns shipped in 11 crates.
Smithson’s crypt in the Smithsonian
Petrified wood outside the Smithsonian
“Man Controlling Trade” (1942) by Michael Lantz in front of the Federal Trade Commission building. The work is 12 x 16 feet.
The House of the Temple, headquarters of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Southern Jurisdiction, is located in the DuPont Circle neighborhood. It was designed by John Russell Pope and was built from 1911-1915.
The building was modeled after the tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Sculpture in front of the Masonic Temple
The statue of Daniel Webster in the 16th Street Historic District was sculpted by Gaetano Trentanove in 1900.
The sculpture was given by Stilson Hutchins, founder of the Washington Post. Webster is 12 feet high; the granite pedestal is 18 feet high.
A bas-relief panel on the monument portrays the Webster-Hayne debate in 1830.
Sometimes graffiti, as on this stop sign in the 16th Street Historic District, is fun.