• Meridian Hill Park

    Meridian Hill

    Park District of Columbia

Places

Points of Interest - North to South

Entry to Meridian Hill Park can be gained at points off 16th and 15th Streets.

 
Serenity

Serenity

Halfway down the upper level facing 16th Street, one can find a most unusual statue, Serenity. Serenity is the work of sculptor Jose Clara. Clara carved the reclining figure out of a solid block of white carrara marble. On March 12, 1924, Serenity was dedicated in memory of Lt. Commander William H. Scheutz, by fellow West Point classmate Charles Deering. Prior to his death in 1927, he became president of the International Harvester Company.
 
Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

At the terrace overlook, one may view the beautiful statue of Joan of Arc -- the only equestrian statue of a woman in Washington, D.C. Joan of Arc is a bronze copy of the Paul Dubois statue which sits before the Cathedral of Rheims in France. The statue was given by the Ladies of France in Exile in New York and dedicated to the Nation on January 6, 1922. In attendance at the dedication were First Lady Mrs. Warren G. Harding and Mrs. Jules Jusserand, wife of the French Ambassador to the United States.
 
Dante

Dante

As one descends down the steps, to the left, following the concrete aggregate walkway, one will enter the poetry corner. Overlooking this special stay is the statue of Dante Allegari. Author of "The Divine Comedy," Dante is considered one of the greatest writers of fictional literature in history. His figure stands 11 1/2 feet tall, made of bronze by sculptor Ettore Ximenes of Rome. The statue stands on a pedestal of sea green granite and represents Dante in the robe of a scholar, wearing a crown of laurel. The statue was presented to the United States on the 600th anniversary of Dante's death by Carlo Barsotti, a New York editor, in recognition of Italian Americans living in New York State.
 
Buchanan memorial

President Buchanan Memorial

As one proceeds down the walkway, to the left can be found the 82 foot long memorial to James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States. This imposing monument's focal point is the nine foot seated figure of Buchanan, flanked by two statues representing Law and Diplomacy. Buchanan, a native Pennsylvanian, was a statesman as well as United States Minister of Russia and Great Britain. He is most remembered for being the only bachelor president. The statue, sculptured by Hans Schuler, was a gift from Buchanan's neice, Mrs. Harriet Lane Johnston, dedicated on June 26, 1930 in his memory.

Turning toward the reflecting pool one can view a concrete aggregate chess board. One of the leisure activities of the Europeans was to hold human chess pageants.

 
Cascades

Perhaps the single most intriguing feature of the park is the cascading thirteen basin fountains that form the center of the lower level formal garden. The fountains are designed with a recirculating water system which, through an elaborate series of pumps, supplies water to two large circular fountains on the upper level, and the cascade found on the lower. Each cascade bowl flows to a larger bowl as they descend to the bottom. Water fills one bowl, overflowing into the next, until it reaches the large reflecting pool in the plaza.

In the vicinity of Belmont Road, just west of 16th Street, was once the site of a small log cabin owned by Joaquin Miller. Called the "Poet of the Sierras," Joaquin Miller was best known for his poem "Columbus." He built and occupied the log cabin during his residence in Washington from early 1883 to late 1885. Miller came to seek political office, but was disappointed in his quest. However, he remained in Washington for some years to carry on his literary work. The cabin remained within the Meridian Hill region for 30 years when, in 1912, it was threatened with destruction and then moved to Rock Creek Park by the California State Association. The cabin is now located on Beach Drive near Picnic Area 6 in Rock Creek Park.

Did You Know?

Meridian Hill Park

Camp Cameron a bivouac point for Union soldiers during the Civil War was once located on the grounds of Meridian Hill.