Monument constructed of Georgia marble, consisting of a semi-circular fountain 20 m broad and 13½ m deep and
in the center, a pylon crowned with a globe supported by four eagles connected by garland. A 4½ m foot statue of Columbus, facing the U. S. Capitol and wrapped in a medieval mantle, stands in front of the pylon in the bow of a ship with its prow extending into the upper basin of the fountain terminating with a winged figurehead representing democracy. Flanking Columbus are two seated, allegorical figures: to his left representing the Old World is a patriarchal figure resting his arms upon a shield and grasping a crumpled map while to his right representing the New World is a pre-Columbian figure (American Indian) crouching behind his crude shield reaching for an arrow. On the rear of the large pylon is a double medallion picturing the Spanish monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, and the inscription. Set at the extremes of the axis of the balustrade are couchant lions. Three towering flagpoles stand behind the monument representing the three ships of 1492. Classic-columned lampposts in front of Union Station feature replicas of ships on their cross-axis near the base mounts.
the memory of christopher columbus
whose high faith
and indomitable courage
gave to mankind
a new world
Extract from the description on the National Columbus Celebration Association website:
In the years following the great quadricentennial celebration in 1892 an effort was launched by the Knights of Columbus to establish a monument to Columbus in Washington D.C. A commission was established composed of the secretaries of State and War, the chairmen of the House and Senate Committees on the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus. With the newly completed Union Railroad Station in 1907, plans focused toward locating the memorial on the plaza in front of this great edifice. After a series of competitions, sculptor Lorado Z. Taft of Chicago was awarded
The dedication of the majestic tribute to Columbus occurred on June 8, 1912 with many thousands attending. It was the prelude to the annual Columbus Day celebrations since at this the focal point. It is the site of international wreath-laying ceremony with Embassies of Italy and Spain, Italian American organizations and general public on Columbus Day annually.
From various sources, 9 Columbus and related memorials were located. In chronological order they are (with * are the monuments indicated which are not visible for the public).
- 1801/17 Bust by Giuseppe Ceracchi in the *White House.
- 1825/27 Portrait medaillon in the Capitol Rotunda
- 1836 Statue by Luigi Persico in the storage of the *Capitol.
- 1860 Scenes of Columbus' life and bust Randolph Rogers' Capitol Doors.
- 1897 Statue by Paul Wayland Bartlett in the Library of Congress.
- 1912 Monument with statue by Lorado Z. Taft at Union Station.
- 1950s Relief and stained glass window in the National Shrine.
- 1966 Statue of Queen Isabella by José Luis Sanchez at the OAS.
- 1992 Statue by Carlo Nicoli at the Holy Rosary Church.
This monument on postcards
- Lorado Zadoc Taft (Elmwood, Illinois, 1860-Chicago 1936),
Sources & Information
- NIAF, Tributes to Christopher Columbus in the United States.
- Gregory R. Ciesielski, "Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain." Discovery! Journal of the Christopher Columbus Philatelic Society vol. 18, no. 2 (12 April 2000): 1246.
- Much information gives the National Columbus Celebration Association.
- Smithsonian American Art Museum, SIRIS (Smithsonian Institution Research Information system).
Location N 38°53'47" W 77°0'23"
Item Code: usdc07;
Added: 19 September 1999
/ Photograph: 19 September 1999
/ Updated: 12 October 2000
© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt