At the foot of Capitol Hill, ugly, yellow wooden boards which have hidden the lovely and elegant Bartholdi Fountain from public view for what seems like an eternity, have at last come down.
It’s only been two years, an official said, that the cast iron fountain by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (1834-1904) has been under repair while its splendor lay behind an opaque fence.
You may visit this park paradise (truly it is) and sit a spell, hidden from view, surrounded by cascading flowers and greenery amidst quiet, beauty, and sweet smelling fragrance wafting through the air which can ease a weary mind in seconds. (Yes, believe and it shall happen this close to Congress.)
The location is at the corner of Independence Avenue and First Street, SW, right across the street from the U.S. Botanic Garden, all maintained and administered by the Office of the Architect of the Capitol. (Thank goodness the Tea Party was not in charge to stop renovation. Oh, I forgot: The states can take care of it.)
Bartholdi created the fountain for the 1876 International Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia at the same time that he was working on another work, the Statue of Liberty (which, coincidentally, is now closed for a year for renovation). (Question: Would the Tea Party allow the Statue of Liberty without repairs to eventually fall into the New York Harbor?)
When the Philadelphia Exposition ended, Frederick Law Olmstead, the landscape architect, urged the federal government to buy the fountain which it did, for half ($6,000) its value. (Had the Tea Party been in charge, its pieces might have become cast iron skillets your great-grandmother used.)
In 1877 the fountain was moved to D.C. and placed in the center of the National Mall at the foot of Capitol Hill to become part of the grounds which then comprised the U.S. Botanic Garden.
The fountain’s illumination made it one of the most popular monuments in Washington since it was one of the first lighted nightly attractions.
Fifty years after the fountain was moved to Washington, the Botanic Garden was re-located, and the fountain was dismantled and placed in storage until 1932 which it was re-erected and placed in its present spot. Only 26 years ago, in 1985, the park was named in honor of Frederic Auguste Bartholdi.
Question: Do the lights work? The Architect official told me, yes, they do work (but, chorus please (he didn’t say this, the chorus did): Not if the Tea Party can help it.)
Reward yourself and visit this beauty right in the heart of Washington, D.C., Breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy the majesty and glory that a statue and park can bring to your senses and be thankful for the powers that be, which would be those of the U.S. Government.
Heaven… I’m in heaven,
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak.
And I seem to find the happiness I seek,
When I’m in Bartholdi Park, and dancing to my beat
Heaven… I’m in heaven,
And the cares that hung around me through the week,
Seem to vanish like a donor’s lucky streak,
When I’m in Bartholdi Park, not writing any tweets