Bartholdi Fountain

Bartholdi Fountain (HM195F)

Location: Washington, DC 20024
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 53.232', W 77° 0.748'

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United States Botanic Garden

The Bartholdi Fountain was created by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (1834 - 1904), the French sculptor who also designed the Statue of Liberty. It was first exhibited in Philadelphia at the International Exposition of 1876. The fountain was purchased by the U.S. Congress in 1877 for six thousand dollars and placed on the Botanic Garden grounds, then situated in the corner of the Mall. Moved to its present location in 1932, the Bartholdi Fountain was restored in 1986.

The fountain, intended to be an allegorical representation of Water and Light, is designed in three identical sections with classical forms and symbols. Turtle like aquatic monsters and large shells surround the base. The pedestal holds three sea nymphs rising on their toes. Fish spout water form between their feet. The nymphs seem to hold the large basin, which is actually supported by the central column. Above the basin three youthful tritons playfully hold out seaweed. Water spills from a crown at the very top into the upper basin, while jets shoot from the mouths of the fish and turtles.

The cast iron fountain weighs 40 tons and is 30 feet high. It was first lit by 12 gas lamps. These lamps were replaced by battery powered electric lights in 1881, making the fountain of the first nighttime attractions in the city. The lights surrounding the large basin were added in 1886, and the fountain completely electrified in 1915.
HM NumberHM195F
Placed ByUnited States Botanic Garden
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 at 6:48am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 325452 N 4306184
Decimal Degrees38.88720000, -77.01246667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 53.232', W 77° 0.748'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 53' 13.92" N, 77° 0' 44.88" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202, 301
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 221-241 First St SW, Washington DC 20024, US
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