Friday, January 6, 2017

Richmond's Washington Monument - Then and Now

This past summer, and then again a couple of months later, I was fortunate to get to tour around the Virginia State Capitol and grounds. Mr. Jefferson's edifice is certainly an impressive structure, and its service and place in the state's, as well as the Confederacy's history only increased its importance.

On the Capitol grounds stands a monument as impressive, if not more, so than the building it was meant to complement. Richmond's George Washington equestrian monument is a tribute to the state's native son. Washington's roles as a citizen planter, soldier, and statesman made him the ideal example for America's youth, but particularly for Virginia's young men as a model of manhood.  

The stunning monument was dedicated in 1858. It also features fellow Virginia notables, who were added to the memorial later: Thomas Jefferson; Patrick Henry; George Mason; Supreme Court justice John Marshall, Andrew Lewis, a French and Indian War and Revolutionary War officer; and Thomas Nelson, Jr., a governor and representative in the Continental Congress.

Richmond's Washington monument became even more well known when it served as the backdrop for Jefferson Davis's inauguration in February 1862, and with its incorporation into the Great Seal of the Confederacy.

Historic photograph courtesy of the National Archives

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