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Memorials, Statues, and Monuments to George Washington

Making Connections

All documents and text associated with this activity are printed below, followed by a worksheet for student responses.

Introduction

Dozens of counties, hundreds of municipalities, a state, and our nation's capital have all been named after George Washington. He is the most memorialized figure in United States history. In addition to these place names, there are countless statues, monuments, and memorials to Washington all around the country. In this activity, you will be comparing and contrasting some of the most well-known monuments to our nation's first President.

Choose several monuments to focus on (your teacher will tell you how many). For each image, consider the following:

  • What do you see?
  • What do you think it represents?
  • How do they physically or symbolically depict George Washington?
  • What aspects and qualities do they appear to emphasize in their depiction?


Name:
Class:

Worksheet

Memorials, Statues, and Monuments to George Washington

Making Connections

Examine the documents and text included in this activity. Fill in any blanks in the sequence with your thoughts and write your conclusion response in the space provided.

George Washington Statue, Richmond, VA


Washington Monument, Baltimore, MD


Sketch of the George Washington Statue


Equestrian Statue of George Washington, Union Square, New York City, NY


Virginia Washington Monument, Richmond, VA


Lieutenant General George Washington, Washington, DC


George Washington Statue, Boston, MA


George Washington Statue, New York City, NY


Washington Monument, Washington, DC


Washington Square Arch, New York City, NY


Trenton Battle Monument, Trenton, NJ


George Washington Monument, Philadelphia, PA


Washington`s Crossing Monument


Washington Monument, Princeton, NJ


Shrine of Democracy at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota





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George Washington Statue, Richmond, VA

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Washington Monument, Baltimore, MD

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Sketch of the George Washington Statue

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Equestrian Statue of George Washington, Union Square, New York City, NY

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Virginia Washington Monument, Richmond, VA

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Lieutenant General George Washington, Washington, DC

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George Washington Statue, Boston, MA

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George Washington Statue, New York City, NY

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Washington Monument, Washington, DC

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Washington Square Arch, New York City, NY

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Trenton Battle Monument, Trenton, NJ

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George Washington Monument, Philadelphia, PA

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Washington`s Crossing Monument

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Washington Monument, Princeton, NJ

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Shrine of Democracy at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

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Conclusion

Memorials, Statues, and Monuments to George Washington

Making Connections

Answer the following in preparation for a class discussion:
 
  1. Which statue, monument, or memorial to George Washington do you think is best? Why?
  2. If you were to create a statue, monument, or memorial to George Washington today, what characteristics of him as a leader would you emphasize? What details would you include in your statue, monument or memorial? Why?


Your Response




Document

George Washington Statue, Richmond, VA

1796 (Photograph Unknown)

This statue of George Washington by Jean-Antoine Houdon in the Virginia State Capitol building in Richmond, VA was unveiled in 1796.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Commission of Fine Arts.
National Archives Identifier: 57358782
Full Citation: George Washington Statue, Richmond, VA; 1796 (Photograph Unknown); Art and Sculpture: General; General Photographic File of the Commission of Fine Arts, ca. 1910 - 1950; Records of the Commission of Fine Arts, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/george-washington-statue-richmond-va, September 26, 2022]


George Washington Statue, Richmond, VA

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Document

Washington Monument, Baltimore, MD

1829 (Photographs 1971)

Located in Baltimore, MD in the Mount Vernon Place Historic District, the Washington Monument by Robert Mills was completed in 1829. 

The first major monument to honor George Washington, the Baltimore memorial is the heart of the Mount Vernon neighborhood.  The 165 foot Doric column is topped by a 15 foot statue of George Washington.  Bronze lettering on the pedestal details some of the major events and roles of Washington. 

To George Washington by the State of Maryland
Born 22 February 1732
Died 14 December 1799
Commander in Chief of the American Army 15 June 1775
Commissioned Resigned at Annapolis
23 December 1783
Trenton, 26 December 1776
Yorktown, 19 October 1781
President of the United States
4 March 1789
Retired to Mount Vernon
4 March 1797
 
These photos of Washington Monument in Baltimore, MD are part of materials from the Mount Vernon Place Historic District registration for National Register of Historic Places.
This primary source comes from the Records of the National Park Service.
National Archives Identifier: 106775892
Full Citation: Washington Monument, Baltimore, MD; 1829 (Photographs 1971); National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records: Maryland; National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records, 2013 - 2017; Records of the National Park Service, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/washington-monument-baltimore-md, September 26, 2022]


Washington Monument, Baltimore, MD

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Washington Monument, Baltimore, MD

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Washington Monument, Baltimore, MD

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Document

Sketch of the George Washington Statue

1832-1841

This primary source comes from the General Records of the Department of State.
National Archives Identifier: 5716609
Full Citation: Sketch of the George Washington Statue; 1832-1841; General Records of the Department of State, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/sketch-of-the-george-washington-statue, September 26, 2022]


Sketch of the George Washington Statue

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Document

Equestrian Statue of George Washington, Union Square, New York City, NY

1856 (photograph 1995)

This equestrian statue of George Washington, by Henry Kirke Brown (sculptor), John Quincy Adams Ward (assistant), and Richard Upjohn (architect) was unveiled in 1856 in Union Square in New York City, NY. The Washington statue was dedicated on July 4,1856, after Brown had worked on it for four years.  The statue depicts General Washington on Evacuation Day, when the British finally left New York in November 1783.  The bronze statue measures over 13 feet tall and is the oldest sculpture in the New York City Parks system.

In 2020, following the national dialogue on statues and monuments initially brought about by the protests against police brutality and racism in policing, the statue's pedestal was defaced by a protester.

This photograph of the Equestrian Statue of George Washington in New York City, NY are part of materials from the Union Square Form for National Register of Historic Places status.
 
This primary source comes from the Records of the National Park Service.
National Archives Identifier: 75315974
Full Citation: Equestrian Statue of George Washington, Union Square, New York City, NY; 1856 (photograph 1995); National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records: New York; National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records, 2013 - 2017; Records of the National Park Service, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/equestrian-statue-of-george-washington-union-square-new-york-city-ny, September 26, 2022]


Equestrian Statue of George Washington, Union Square, New York City, NY

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Document

Virginia Washington Monument, Richmond, VA

1869 (photographs 2002)

Located in Richmond, Virginia, Virginia Washington Monument (also known as Washington Monument sculpture group and George Washington Equestrian Statue) by Thomas Crawford and Randolph Rodgers was unveiled in 1858 and completed in 1869. The project began with the Virginia General Assembly's establishment of a fund for the monument to Washington in 1817.  When unveiled in 1858, the 21-foot equestrian statue of George Washington was only the second ever equestrian statue dedicated to the Founding Father. 

The 65 foot tall, three tiered monument features a massive 21 foot equestrian statue of George Washington surrounded by six Virginia Patriots and allegorical figures representing associated revolutionary virtues--Thomas Jefferson (Independence) Patrick Henry (Revolution), John Marshall (Justice), Thomas Nelson (Finance), George Mason (Bill of Rights), and Andrew Lewis (Colonial Times). Thomas Crawford created the figures of Washington, Jefferson, and Henry and began Mason and Marshall.  Following Crawford's death, and with the intervening years of the Civil War, Randolph Rodgers completed Mason and Marshall and created the figures of Nelson and Lewis.

In fact, Crawford's George Washington became the chief image in the Great Seal of the Confederacy.  In addition, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as president of the Confederacy in the shadow of the unfinished monument in February 1862. 

These photos are part of materials from the registration of Virginia Washington Monument, in Richmond, VA  in the National Register of Historic Places.
This primary source comes from the Records of the National Park Service.
National Archives Identifier: 41682921
Full Citation: Virginia Washington Monument, Richmond, VA; 1869 (photographs 2002); National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records: Virginia; National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records, 2013 - 2017; Records of the National Park Service, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/virginia-washington-monument-richmond-va, September 26, 2022]


Virginia Washington Monument, Richmond, VA

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Virginia Washington Monument, Richmond, VA

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Virginia Washington Monument, Richmond, VA

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Virginia Washington Monument, Richmond, VA

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Virginia Washington Monument, Richmond, VA

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Virginia Washington Monument, Richmond, VA

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Virginia Washington Monument, Richmond, VA

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Document

Lieutenant General George Washington, Washington, DC

1860 (photograph 1977)

Located in Washington, DC, the bronze equestrian statue of George Washington was commissioned by Congress from Clark Mills after his successful completion of the equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson located on Lafayette Square. It depicts George Washington in the uniform of Commander in Chief of the Continental Army advancing in front of the American lines in a surprise attack on the British forces. The horse is shown rearing slightly, standing on three feet, while Washington calmly holds the reins in his right hand and his sword down at his left side.

This photo and description of the Statue of Lieutenant General George Washington in Washington, DC are part of materials from the American Revolutionary Statuary in Washington DC Nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places.
This primary source comes from the Records of the National Park Service.
National Archives Identifier: 117691933
Full Citation: Lieutenant General George Washington, Washington, DC; 1860 (photograph 1977); National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records: Washington, DC; National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records, 2013 - 2017; Records of the National Park Service, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/equestrian-washington-washington-dc, September 26, 2022]


Lieutenant General George Washington, Washington, DC

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Document

George Washington Statue, Boston, MA

1869 (Photograph 1890-1935)

This primary source comes from the Records of the National Park Service.
National Archives Identifier: 155823551
Full Citation: George Washington Statue, Boston, MA; 1869 (Photograph 1890-1935); Landmarks of Boston; Henry Peabody Collection, 1959 - 1960; Records of the National Park Service, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/george-washington-statue-boston-ma, September 26, 2022]


George Washington Statue, Boston, MA

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Document

George Washington Statue, New York City, NY

1883 (Photograph Unknown)

The statue of George Washington by John Quincy Adams Ward was unveiled in front of Federal Hall in New York City in 1883. 

Washington is depicted standing heroically with his right hand reaching forward.  The pose is meant to replicate George Washington taking the oath of office as 1st President while swearing on a Bible, which he did on that site on April 30, 1789.  Federal Hall stands on the site of the first Federal Government--where the 1st Congress met, where the Bill of Rights were written, where our government was established. The statue was unveiled on the 100th anniversary of Evacuation Day, the day in which the British left New York City.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Commission of Fine Arts.
National Archives Identifier: 57358782
Full Citation: George Washington Statue, New York City, NY; 1883 (Photograph Unknown); General Photographic File of the Commission of Fine Arts, ca. 1910 - 1950; Records of the Commission of Fine Arts, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/george-washington-statue-new-york-city-ny, September 26, 2022]


George Washington Statue, New York City, NY

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Document

Washington Monument, Washington, DC

1884 (Photograph 1971)

The Washington Monument by Robert Mills (original architect) and Lt. Colonel Thomas L. Casey (final architect) was opened in Washington, DC in 1884.

Designed as a 19th century Egyptian Revival obelisk, the Washington Monument is the most significant memorial to the nation's 1st President. Standing 555 feet 5-1/8 inches upon completion, it was the tallest manmade structure on Earth until replaced by the Eiffel Tower until 1889.  Constructed in two major phases (1848-1856; 1876-1884) the monument weighs over 80,000 tons. 

These photos and description of Washington Monument in Washington, DC are part of materials from its registration form of in the National Register of Historic Places.
This primary source comes from the Records of the National Park Service.
National Archives Identifier: 117692615
Full Citation: Washington Monument, Washington, DC; 1884 (Photograph 1971); National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records: Washington, DC; National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records, 2013 - 2017; Records of the National Park Service, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/washington-monument-washington-dc, September 26, 2022]


Washington Monument, Washington, DC

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Document

Washington Square Arch, New York City, NY

1892 (Photographs 1977-1978)

This Washington Square Arch by Stanford White was unveiled in 1892 in Washington Square Park in New York City, NY.  

Built to commemorate the centennial of George Washington presidency, the Roman triumphal arch stands 77 feet tall.  Imagery throughout the arch relate to Washington's role in both war and peace through the American Revolution and his Presidency.  For example, two sculptures on the arch depict George Washington at President and Commander in Chief. 

This photo and description of the Washington Square Arch in New York City, NY are part of materials from the Greenwich Village Historic District nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places.
 
This primary source comes from the Records of the National Park Service.
National Archives Identifier: 75319568
Full Citation: Washington Square Arch, New York City, NY; 1892 (Photographs 1977-1978); National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records: New York; National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records, 2013 - 2017; Records of the National Park Service, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/washington-square-arch-new-york-city-ny, September 26, 2022]


Washington Square Arch, New York City, NY

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Washington Square Arch, New York City, NY

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Document

Trenton Battle Monument, Trenton, NJ

1893 (Photograph 1976)

The Trenton Battle Monument by John H. Duncan (architect) and William R. Donovan (sculptor) was unveiled in Trenton, NJ in 1893. 

This 150 foot tall granite Doric column commemorates the colonial victory at Battle of Trenton during the American Revolution.  Atop the column stands a 13 foot tall statue of George Washington with his right arm extended.  On the pedestal are several plaques depicting Washington crossing the Delaware, the beginning of the Battle of Trenton and the surrender of the Hessians.

These photos and description of Trenton Battle Monument in Trenton, NJ are part of materials from its registration form of  in the National Register of Historic Places.
 
This primary source comes from the Records of the National Park Service.
National Archives Identifier: 135815047
Full Citation: Trenton Battle Monument, Trenton, NJ; 1893 (Photograph 1976) ; National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records: New Jersey; National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records, 2013 - 2017; Records of the National Park Service, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/trenton-battle-monument-trenton-nj, September 26, 2022]


Trenton Battle Monument, Trenton, NJ

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Document

George Washington Monument, Philadelphia, PA

1897 (Photograph Unknown)

This statue of George Washington by Rudolf Siemering in the Eakins Oval in Philadephia, PA was unveiled in 1897.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Commission of Fine Arts.
National Archives Identifier: 57358782
Full Citation: George Washington Monument, Philadelphia, PA; 1897 (Photograph Unknown); Art and Sculpture: General; General Photographic File of the Commission of Fine Arts, ca. 1910 - 1950; Records of the Commission of Fine Arts, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/george-washington-monument-philadelphia-pa, September 26, 2022]


George Washington Monument, Philadelphia, PA

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George Washington Monument, Philadelphia, PA

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George Washington Monument, Philadelphia, PA

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Document

Washington's Crossing Monument

1930

Washington's Monument Washingtons Crossing. By the Pa. Dept. of Highways.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Bureau of Public Roads.
National Archives Identifier: 45710023
Full Citation: Washington's Crossing Monument; 1930; States - Pennsylvania; Historical Photograph Files, 1896 - 1963; Records of the Bureau of Public Roads, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/135803734, September 26, 2022]


Washington's Crossing Monument

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Document

Washington Monument, Princeton, NJ

1922 (photgraph ca. 1947)

Original caption: Washington Monument - Site of Battle of Princeton at end of Main Street - Princeton.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Bureau of Public Roads.
National Archives Identifier: 135803442
Full Citation: Washington Monument, Princeton, NJ; 1922 (photgraph ca. 1947); States - New Jersey; Historical Photograph Files, 1896 - 1963; Records of the Bureau of Public Roads, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/washington-monument-site-battle-of-princeton, September 26, 2022]


Washington Monument, Princeton, NJ

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Document

Shrine of Democracy at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

1941 (Photograph 1984)

This Shrine of Democracy (more commonly known as Mount Rushmore) by Gutzon Borglum (sculptor) was completed in 1941 in South Dakota.

Designed to commemorate and symbolize the spirit of the westward expansion and our democratic ideals, the monument includes busts of United States Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. 

Each presidential figure was chosen for representing an important ideal of America's expansion and development. George Washington was chosen for his contributions toward American independence and his role  establishing of our government and Constitution.  Thomas Jefferson's role in the Louisiana Purchase, Abraham Lincoln's preservation of the Union, and Theodore Roosevelt's restless American spirit contributed to their inclusion.

Designed and supervised by Gutzon Borglum, the initial planning began in August 1925.  Drilling began on October 4, 1927 and continued off and on through October 31, 1941. Carved into into the southeast face of Mount Rushmore, each of the busts is 60 feet tall and all four extend 250 feet wide.

This photo and description of the Shrine of Democracy at Mount Rushmmore in South Dakota are part of materials from its nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places.
This primary source comes from the Records of the National Park Service.
National Archives Identifier: 93205555
Full Citation: Shrine of Democracy at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota; 1941 (Photograph 1984); National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records: South Dakota; National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records, 2013 - 2017; Records of the National Park Service, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/shrine-of-democracy-mount-rushmore-south-dakota, September 26, 2022]


Shrine of Democracy at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

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Shrine of Democracy at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

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Shrine of Democracy at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

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