Friday, July 25, 2008

Du Pont Circle

Du Pont Circle Fountain

I'm pulling from the archives for today's post as I didn't make it out for a walk yesterday evening. I did, however, manage to clear another third of the grass and weeds from my tiny backyard in preparation for laying brick pavers, so I'm happy about that.

The picture above is probably the most photographed fountain in Washington, D.C., that isn't on the National Mall. This is the fountain at Du Pont Circle. It is the center for three points in this city: a park, a traffic circle, and a historic neighborhood with a vibrant, urban life. Named for Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont, who served as a naval officer during the Civil War, Du Pont was the nephew of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, the founder of E.I. du Pont de Nemours Company. Today, Du Pont is one of the largest chemical manufacturers in the world.

S.F. Du Pont's family was closely connect to Thomas Jefferson, which helped secure Du Pont a an appointed as a midshipman by President James Madison in 1815. Du Pont served tours in the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean, China, California, and Hawai'i before being called up to command the USS Cyane during the Mexican-American War in 1846. In 1862, as Du Pont was preparing to retire, he was called to service in the Union Navy where he served until 1865. On June 23, 1865, he died in Philadelphia. He is buried in the private, closed Du Pont family cemetery in Greenville, Delaware.

In 1882, Congress decided to recognized Du Pont with a bronze statue by sculpture Launt Thompson in what was then called Pacific Circle. That original statue is no longer part of Du Pont Circle, having been appropriated by the Du Pont family in 1920 and moved to Wilmington, Delaware. This fountain replaced it in 1921 and was created by Daniel Chester French.

To see other treatments of this fountain, visit Standing Room Only.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 07/08


Kris McCracken said...

First, my apologies for a bit of cut and paste commenting. I have been doing the rounds via Bloglines and looking at all the pictures from my favourite photo blogs, but haven’t been leaving comments. Generally, I try to comment as much as I can (I know how good it is for ‘morale’ to know that someone is out there appreciating them), but after the birth of my second son, I am a bit knackered to think up something witty and insightful on the hop. Thus the resort to Control+C and Control+P!

Kris from Hobart, Tasmania.

Virginia said...

Of all the shots of this lovely fountain I vote for the BW one. They are all great, but the BW just gave it a timeless/ artistic quality. I know this doesn't explain it but that's the best I can come up with for my "expert" opinion!

PS I lOVE brick pavers.

Maya said...

I think I would have liked to see a photo of your tiny backyard all torn up in preparation! ;-)

Dusty Lens said...

History with an excellent photo. I like thehis version, the bright blue sky.

How about a work in progress shot to see the backyard paradise in transition?

D.C. Confidential said...

Kris: Welcome! Cut-and-paste is perfectly acceptable. Congratulations on your new baby!

Virginia: I can't decide which one I like best, but you're right that the BW one does give the fountain a sort of timeless feeling.

Maya: I'll see what I can do. In truth, it's a total eyesore and quite embarrassing, but I'm hoping to remedy that and make it functional.

Rob: Given that my backyard abuts onto an alley, I'm not sure I'd call it paradise! Although, with the right amount of money, it probably could be. I've envisioned a raised deck with trellises to hide the ugly alley, but alas. For now, though, it will just be nice to be rid of the unsightly weeds.