BARTHOLDIs THREESOME IN Rayburn Buildings PARK- the Older Sisters of Lady LIBERTY :

4 Jul

There is something to be said about lock down for 3 months. A lot gets done. Walking is limited to blocks. TV becomes background noise comparative to the cafeteria in Longworth Building on Congressional Hill. Not quite. I have become an unwitting listener to C-Span. I even discovered PBS and Ken Burns. I mean I have photographed Ken over the years. I finally watched one of his movies. Wowser. America didn’t want Liberty his documentary says. Wowser.

An hour later after watching how America looked this gift horse in the mouth and asked “HOW MUCH” there was one detail Kenny left off… there is a little bit of Lady Liberty, better known as the “Statute of Liberty” a lot closer to Congress’s home, the Capitol, that Kenny neglected to dish on, a little blip in Intellectual Property, not just A fountain but THE fountain called “The Fountain of Light and water.” A block from Rayburn Building, kitty corner to the Capitol and across the street from the United States Botanic Garden, 38.887127 degrees North and 77.012669 degrees West, where Intellectual Property is debated by legislators fighting technology and the Register of Copyright’s initiatives encroaching on Entreprenuerism and Design, is a bit of July 4th history, Congressional staffers should take constituents on tours to but don’t take the time to know to learn about. The Bartholdi Fountain, steps away down the block from where the PETA girls appear annually in Vegi Bikinis and where the annual Ice Cream giveaway is held, is where few guests to the Capitol visit or even fewer walk through but  should.

Especially on the 4th of July.

The restored fountain, at the corner of Independence Avenue and First Street NW,  called the Bartholdi Fountain in tour books and other guides, was originally named the “Fountain of Light and Water.”  The public fountain, designed in 1876 by French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. Bartholdi, the designer of the Statue of Liberty, had created the 30’ sculpture, painted to look bronze, for the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Centennial Exposition held in 1876. Bartholdi was working on the Statue of Liberty at the same time.

America was celebrating its 100th birthday.

Bartholdi cast the fountain at the Durenne foundry in France. The Durenne foundry had won internal awards for its cast-iron fountains at expositions in 1862, 1867 and 1873. Bartholdi loaned the fountain to the Exposition for free. Bartholdi, ever the entrepreneur,  planned to sell his “Fountain of Light and Water,”  which stood at the center of the esplanade, near the exposition’s main entrance, profiting from the prominent placement at the prestigious event by replicating the fountain then selling the fountain copies to other cities.   

The exposition ended as did Bartholdi’s ambitions. No one wanted his “Fountain of Light and Water.”  You heard the expression ‘he couldn’t give it away’? He couldn’t. Anyone who has ever been to a trade show knows that the BEST day to shop is the last day, the last few hours when reality hits the vendors who go, OMG, at the reality of what they are faced with to shlep home. Bartholdi’s asking price was 12 grand. A year after the Exposition ended, in 1877, Bartholdi was made an reality check offer he did not refuse.. The United States Congress offered Bartholdi $6,000. Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect who designed the Capitol Grounds recommended the Congress buy Bartholdi’s girls.  Bartholdi took it. The only other fountain Bartholdi sold post the Exposition was to Riems, France. No one knows where it has gone to.

1878. The  “Fountain of Light and Water”  stood at the bottom of Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, center line of the National Mall where the Botanic Gardens once stood. The triplet of handsome women, yes ‘handsome’, were removed in 1926 then stored. Gotta love men and their fantasies about threesomes, even back in the days of Bartholdi though some say his women, even the Statue of Liberty, man hands and all, are modelled after his mother. Where is a Capitol Hill couch diagnosis when one needs one. The George Meade Memorial needed cleaning. The Grant Memorial needed landscaping. Seven years later, the arguably manly women found home in the United States Botanic Garden, part of the United States Capitol grounds.

The Architect of the Capitol realized the arch backed women, caryatids designed in the tradition of classical Greece sculpture, with sea nymphs known as neriedes, goddesses of the sea, fish, shells and coral scattered amidst their feet, may be strongly featured but were not holding up to the elements. One could tease, caryatids are women with a lot on their minds, heads.The Amazonian women, 11 feet tall, wearing leaved headresses and shells decorating their waists, were stoic atop their ornamentally designed triangular pedestal, enjoined with three water spitting reptiles, turtles and seashells while supporting a vasque decorated with a circle of twelve lamps supporting yet another vasque that spills water that cascades down into the basin, as best as hoped, considering age and elements were causing water to fall off balance.

The AOC restoration began in 2008. Rusting bolts were replaced. Paint was sandblasted. Pumps were modernized. A new filtration and water treatment were provided. The cast iron coating of the fountain was coated with zinc. The women were returned to their pedestal, basins supported by the strong muscled women standing in the middle of the marble pool, spring 2011. The fountain, weighing no less than 30,000 pounds, was levelled so the water dripped evenly.

The “Fountain of Light and Water” was a favorite “go to spot” for lovers, and others, in the 1880’s. The fountain was one of the first DC monuments that was lit at night. It was lit with gas lamps. The gas lamps were replaced, in time, with electric, in 1886.  Round glass globes replaced the gas fixtures, in 1915, when the fountain was fitted for electric lighting.

One hundred years later, the park was renamed for Frederic Auguste Bartholdi.

Bartholdi Park is beautifully landscaped just poorly traveresed. American tax dollars pay for its upkeep by the National Park service. With benches and gazebos of sorts to sit in, at lunch and other times of dawn and dusk, oddly, it is a place DC’s homeless blocks from the White House have not seemed to discover. It is the place immigrants havent discovered. That is not puzzling. In her creation and glory, the Statue of Liberty was nothing about Immigration. She was all about a Frenchman who had an idea that America said NO THANK YOU to when faced with having to pay for it. So in 1879, Bartholdi was granted a design patent for the Statue of Liberty, US Patent D11,023. Bartholdi’s patent covered sales of small copies of the statue which proceeds Bartholdi used toward raising money to build the full statue.

Bartholdi died October 4, 1904 in Paris, France. Current patent life is Life+70. Hmmm.

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect2=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&d=PALL&RefSrch=yes&Query=PN/D11023

Maybe Congressmen will encourage their staffers to take their constituents out for boxed  lunch, down the block, to enjoy their tax dollars at work. Bartholdi’s threesome in Bartholdi Park may not be the White House shut down for faux reasons citing sequester but the girls are there and waiting for their story to be shared and told….. enjoyed by lovers or friends just catching up.

  

 

[ http://www.godinthetemplesofgovernment.com ]

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