Columbus Fountain at Union Station Vies for Restoration Grant

Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain

National Park Service

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News Release Date: May 25, 2016

Contact: Mike Litterst (NPS), 202-245-4676

Contact: Corinne Schieffer (USDC), 202-216-1308

Washington–Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC) and the National Park Service's National Mall and Memorial Parks announced today that the Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain at the entrance to Union Station is competing for a share of $2 million in grants under the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Partners in Preservation program. In honor of the National Park Service Centennial, the 2016 Partners in Preservation: National Parks campaign will award grants to historic sites in need of preservation within national parks, as decided by popular vote. Partners in Preservation is a community-based partnership of American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This is the first national campaign in the program's 10-year history.

As one of 20 historic places selected, National Mall and Memorial Parks hopes to be one of the winners of the campaign to help restore Columbus Fountain. Columbus Fountain, named after Christopher Columbus, is positioned at the grand entrance to Washington's Union Station and is one of the first historic sites visitors see when arriving to the Nation's Capital. A $249,000 grant will restore the beauty and aesthetic of this historic sculpture. A public vote at will determine the sites that receive grants.

"Columbus Fountain currently suffers from significant structural deficiencies. It does not function as it once did, the statuary has been painted over to hide expanding discoloration, and the fountain base is currently boarded up to prevent further damage. The purpose of the project is to restore the appearance of the fountain, providing a welcoming view to visitors of the capital city, and ensure the preservation of the stone structure for future generations to come," said Beverley Swaim-Staley, President of Union Station Redevelopment Corporation. "We hope this campaign can generate awareness for the greater needs of this Park and serve as a launching pad to assist the National Park Service in accomplishing a complete restoration." 

"Relying on both the cooperation of park partners and input from our visitors, the Partners in Preservation program is a perfect celebration of the National Park Service Centennial," said Gay Vietzke, superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks. "The Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain greets more the 37 million people arriving in the Nation's Capital each year and we invite all of Washington to celebrate our 100th anniversary by helping us restore the beauty and aesthetic of this national historic landmark."

The public is encouraged to vote for their favorite parks today through July 5 on, the online portal hosted by National Geographic, this year's media partner, to determine which sites will receive preservation grants. The public is also invited to share their experiences on social media and celebrate these sites using #VoteYourPark. 

"The support of private organizations has been essential to our efforts to care for the places that convey our nation's history and culture since the creation of the National Park System 100 years ago," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "The 2016 Partners in Preservation campaign is a strong symbol of our partners' continued dedication to ensure that these special places are preserved and protected for future generations of Americans." 

"As a premier partner of the National Park Foundation's Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque campaign and the 2016 National Park Centennial, we are engaging the community in serving, preserving and celebrating U.S. National Parks throughout this year," said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. "Historic preservation is a hallmark of American Express' involvement in strengthening communities, and we are proud to help lead the effort to preserve these cultural sites and monuments that contribute to our national and regional identity." 

The Partners in Preservation: National Parks campaign gives enthusiasts the opportunity to show their support for their favorite historic sites through a popular vote. At the outset of the campaign, friends groups for each of the 20 participating sites within national parks will receive a grant of $10,000, which will be used to increase public awareness about the historic structures nominated. The national parks with the most votes at the end of the voting period will be awarded grants for historic restoration projects. By voting daily at, supporters can also enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to Yellowstone National Park sponsored by National Geographic. 

"Since the inception of our national parks system a century ago, the parks' cultural resources have been central to the visitor experience and telling the full story of our nation's diverse history," says Stephanie Meeks, President and CEO, The National Trust for Historic Preservation. "Today, two-thirds of our more than 400 national parks are dedicated to cultural and historic significance. As such, we are delighted to embark on Partners in Preservation: National Parks, which builds on the program's decade-long experience in galvanizing public support for preserving historic structures for future generations." 

New to the program for 2016 is a collaboration with National Geographic, a partner with strong ties to U.S. National Parks as well as historic preservation. As the media partner, National Geographic is launching a consumer engagement campaign across its digital and social platforms promoting Partners in Preservation: National Parks and inviting people to vote. 

"We are thrilled to join forces with Partners in Preservation: National Parks and celebrate our shared commitment to preserve some of the world's most meaningful and culturally significant sites," said Susan Goldberg, Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic. "We love to give our readers an opportunity to engage with their passion for parks and Partners in Preservation: National Parks is an ideal way to activate our very engaged community and empower them to participate." 

The public can get involved by visiting for more information and voting daily through July 5 at

About Partners in Preservation 
Partners in Preservation is a program in which American Express, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, awards preservation grants to historic places across the country. Since 2006, Partners in Preservation, a community-based partnership, has committed $16 million in preservation funding to nearly 200 diverse sites in eight different cities across the country. Through this partnership, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation seek to increase the public's awareness of the importance of historic preservation in the United States and to preserve America's historic and cultural places. The program also hopes to inspire long-term support from local citizens for the historic places at the heart of their communities. 

About Union Station Redevelopment Corporation 
Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC) was established in 1983 as a non-profit organization charged with overseeing Washington Union Station's restoration and renaissance as a multi-modal trans¬portation center and a retail/entertainment center while preserving its significant historic character. Today, USRC continues to oversee Union Station as a premier world class inter-modal facility meeting the needs of more than 100,000 people who stream through the station daily. The USRC generates its revenue through operation of the parking garage and management of the developer's lease. 

About National Mall and Memorial Parks 
The National Park Service's National Mall and Memorial Parks preserves, protects, and interprets the symbolic and monumental civic spaces and commemorative works in the center of the Nation's Capital that honor American ideals and values, distinguished public figures, and military and civilian sacrifices and contributions. National Mall and Memorial Parks also serves as a public park and open space for active civic and cultural engagement, recreation, and public enjoyment.  

Last updated: May 25, 2016

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