George Washington has been called the Father of the United States. The American capital city is called “Washington,” more than half of the American states have a Washington County, and there’s an entire state named after him. His face shows up on quarters and dollar bills, and his name graces many city streets and parks. It’s probably next to impossible to visit the United States and not have multiple encounters with some representation of our first president.
Living in Washington State, it’s easy in some ways to forget about the man himself and to just think of his name, or his face as a logo:
|From Day Out|
This brass representation of the seal of the State of Washington resides on the upper level of the Washington State Capitol Building.
But when we began taking trips to other parts of the country, we started finding ol’ George just about everywhere.
This statue of Washington resides in a small park in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.
|From Charleston, South Carolina|
When thinking of South Carolina, and particularly of Charleston, I think of Lincoln, because of the Civil War. But of course there were Revolutionary War events that took place in South Carolina too, and Washington was just as well liked there as he was in other states. Maybe even more, since he was from Virginia and thought of as a Southerner.
Then of course, there are the representation of Washington in places where he did important things:
|From New York City, New York|
This statue stands on Wall Street, on the spot where Washington took the very first Presidential Oath of Office. This was before Washington, DC, became the official American capital.
We found this plaque on the floor of the Old State House in Annapolis, Maryland:
|From Annapolis and Dover|
The room in which the plaque was located is being renovated so that it looks just like it did when Washington was there.
Of course, not all of the representations of Washington are statues of him standing around. There are also busts:
|From Boston, Massachusetts|
This bust of Washington is in Boston’s Old North Church. It’s very old; when the Marquis de Lafayette saw it, he reportedly remarked that it was the best likeness of Washington that he had ever seen.
Washington also shows up on horseback, like this statue in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum:
|From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
The statue is part of a larger monument, which includes fountains, friezes and states of American animals like bison and moose.
Another large monument is this one, which we found in Baltimore:
|From Baltimore, Maryland|
It’s one of the oldest monuments to Washington, and the statue of George is coming apart – you can see that he is missing one of his hands. Since the statue is on top of a big pillar, it’s a bit difficult to get up there and restore it.
In his lifetime, Washington spent time in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Annapolis. He may have even visited Charleston. But just because Washington didn’t visit a particular place hasn’t stopped the residents from building statues of him. We found this monument in Milwaukee, Wisconsin:
|From Milwaukee, Wisconsin|
Unlike the other, sometimes larger statues that we saw in many places, Milwaukee’s Washington monument has a connection with regular Americans: the woman and the child who are examining the monument. It almost looks like the woman is telling the child about how important Washington is to the history of the United States. We haven’t seen any other statues quite like this one.
Every time we found George Washington as we were exploring a new city, it gave me a good feeling. It was like finding a little piece of our Evergreen State far away from our home. Of course Washington himself never visited the state that now bears his name. He may not have even known anything about the Pacific Northwest at all. But I’d like to think that if he had the chance to visit, he would be enchanted with our state.
He might be just a little self-conscious if he visited our state capitol building, though. His face is everywhere:
|From Day Out|
(There is a very large bust of Washington just above and to the left of the state seal on the railing – that makes three Washingtons in this one picture: the bust, the seal and the picture on the green banner)
Happy 279th Birthday, George!