|President's Park South|
|National Register of Historic Places|
The Ellipse (2007)
|The NRHP added||May 6, 1980|
The Ellipse (also President's Park South ) is a park in Washington, DC located south of the South Lawn of the White House . It is based on plans by Pierre L'Enfant and was essentially designed by Andrew Jackson Downing . The ellipse has been listed as a monument on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980 . The National Christmas Tree , the Zero Milestone and the General William Tecumseh Sherman Monument are on their premises .
The public park is part of the President's Park and has an area of 21 hectares , 6.87 of which are accounted for by the elliptical lawn in the park, around which a nearly one kilometer long road leads. The ellipse lies between the South Lawn of the White House, Constitution Avenue, 15th Street NW, and 17th Street NW. Alexander Hamilton Place and State Place to the west and east of the semicircular south lawn are also part of President's Park South . At the north end of the ellipse are the National Christmas Tree and the Zero Milestone . The east-west axis of the ellipse is 320 m long, the north-south axis 274 m.
The creation of a park south of the presidential seat was planned by Pierre L'Enfant in 1791. For decades, however, there was no landscaping here , so this area remained a swamp area that sloped down to Tiber Creek and the Washington City Canal , today's Constitution Avenue . From 1851, Andrew Jackson Downing gave the park its present form. This work was completed in 1884.
In 1880 a gatehouse was moved to the southern end of President's Park South in the corner of Constitution Avenue and 15th Street NW and Constitution Avenue and 17th Street NW so that they flank the line of sight of the White House - Washington Monument . Originally, the gatehouses designed by Charles Bulfinch stood in the western exterior of the Capitol from 1828 to 1874 . They have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places as monuments of independent importance since November 30, 1973.
In 1903, a monument to General William T. Sherman was erected at the northeast end of the park . The General William Tecumseh Sherman Monument consists of a granite pedestal on which a 4.20 high bronze equestrian statue stands. Eight bas-reliefs and some inscriptions are incorporated into the pedestal, which itself stands on a broad foundation . In the east and west there is a bronze group of sculptures that symbolize peace and war. At the four corners of the monument are life-size statues depicting artillery , infantry , cavalry, and military engineer . The sculptor in charge , the Danish-born American Carl Rohl-Smith , died in 1900. Stephan Sinding, among others, continued work on the monument under the supervision of his widow Sara Rohl-Smith .
In 1913, the Butt Millet Memorial Fountain was built in the northwestern part of Ellipse , just south of E Street NW. It commemorates the painter and writer Francis Davis Millet and the military advisor to William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt , Archibald Butt . Butt and Millet had died in the sinking of the RMS Titanic . The fountain designed by Daniel Chester French and Thomas Hastings consists of an octagonal basin, in the middle of which a 2.4 m high marble stele rises out of a circular fountain . This bears a bas-relief on both sides, one of which symbolically represents art and the other soldierly heroism, in memory of Butt's service during the Spanish-American War . The octagonal foundation of the fountain and stele has 16 chiseled wall panels, each filled with a rosette . On the edge of the fountain there is an inscription in memory of Butt and Millet.
The Zero Milestone was set up in 1923 on the circular path at the north end of the ellipse. The obelisk, designed by Horace W. Peaslee, is made of pink North Carolina granite and is four feet high. The Zero Milestone was intended to be the zero point for measuring the distance from highways to Washington, DC . The inscriptions on the obelisk address this purpose and are reminiscent of two transcontinental motorcades that started here in 1919-20. A bronze compass is worked into the top of the obelisk .
The tradition of the National Christmas Tree began in 1923 when a Christmas tree was first set up in the northern part of the ellipse . Up until 1973 a freshly felled or temporarily moved fir was used for this occasion, after which attempts were made to plant a tree here over time. Until 1978 this project failed twice because the trees died. In 1978, a 9 m high spruce was planted as the National Christmas Tree .
In 1924 the architect Cass Gilbert erected the First Division Monument at the northwest end of the ellipse , also to create a balance with the General William Tecumseh Sherman Monument at the northeast end of the park. The monument consists of a nearly 20-meter-high column of pink Milford - Granite is formed. On the pillar there is a 4.50 m high Victoria carrying a flag. All 5,599 fallen soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division from the First World War are engraved on bronze plates at the foot of the column . On October 4, 1924, President Calvin Coolidge delivered the inauguration address for the monument in front of 6,000 veterans and General John J. Pershing . In 1957 and 1977, respectively, bronze tablets were added as exedras on the occasion of the fallen in World War II and the Vietnam War .
The Second Division Memorial was created in 1936 . It is on Constitution Avenue between 16th and 17th Streets NW. The memorial consists of a portal with two side wings on which the battles in which the 2nd Infantry Division participated during the First World War are engraved . In front of the opened portal is a gilded bronze sculpture almost 5.5 m high in the form of a hand carrying a flaming sword. The badge of the 2nd Infantry Division is engraved on the handle of the sword. The sculptor James Earle Fraser and the architect John Russell Pope designed the memorial. In 1962, to commemorate the fallen in the division in World War II and the Korean War, the side wings were each continued with a lower wall that supports a flagpole.
Also in 1936, the National Society Daughters of the American Colonists erected a memorial to the first settlers in the District of Columbia on the edge of the sidewalk on 15th Street NW , officially called the Original Patentees of the District of Columbia Memorial . The names of 18 European settlers who settled in this region before 1700 are engraved on a nearly 0.80 m high base with a 0.3 m² base made of Indiana granite. A nearly 1.4 m high stele with an area of 0.19 m² stands on this foundation. Its sides have wall pictures carved from reliefs, which show a tobacco plant , a corn cob , a turkey and a fish and symbolize the livelihood of the settlers.
In 1964, a little west of the memorial for the first settlers, the Boy Scout Memorial was built , which was designed by the sculptor Donald De Lue and the architect William Henry Deacy. On a 1.80 m high, hexagonal granite pedestal stands a 2.10 m long bronze figure depicting a young boy scout . He steps between two larger figures dressed in the classical style , symbolizing masculinity and femininity. In front of the platform there is a 12 m long, low-lying basin of oval shape, which is surrounded by a memorial inscription and 12 wooden benches.
The main fountains have been located to the left and right of the short section of 16th Street NW north of Constitution Avenue since 1968 . They were donated by Enid A. Haupt and designed by architect Nathaniel Owings , founder of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill . The fountains consist of a 0.30 m thick, 55 t heavy granite slab with a square base and a side length of 5.50 m. A large bowl is built into each of the plates, from which the fountains flow. The main fountains are not actually a monument, but serve to beautify President's Park South and accentuate its southern entrance.
On May 6, 1980, The Ellipse was listed as a site on the National Register of Historic Places .
Tour E: The Ellipse . In Thomas J. Carrier: Washington DC: A Historical Walking Tour . Arcadia Publishing, Charleston (SC) 1999, ISBN 978-0-7385-0049-2 , pp. 87-102
- Barry Mackintosh: President's Park South: Nomination Form . In: National Register of Historic Places database . National Park Service , December 13, 1979, accessed August 1, 2017 (English, 405 KB), p. 6.
- Clark Kimberling: The Shape and History of the Ellipse in Washington, DC . Department of Mathematics at University of Evansville.
- Barry Mackintosh: President's Park South: Nomination Form . In: National Register of Historic Places database . National Park Service , December 13, 1979, accessed August 1, 2017 (English, 405 KB), p. 2.
- Barry Mackintosh: President's Park South: Nomination Form . In: National Register of Historic Places database . National Park Service , December 13, 1979, accessed August 1, 2017 (405 KB), p. 5.
- Thomas J. Carrier: Washington DC: A Historical Walking Tour . P. 87 .
- Barry Mackintosh: President's Park South: Nomination Form . In: National Register of Historic Places database . National Park Service , December 13, 1979, accessed August 1, 2017 (English, 405 KB), p. 4.
- US Capitol Gatehouses And Gateposts in the National Register Information System. National Park Service , accessed August 10, 2017.
- Barry Mackintosh: President's Park South: Nomination Form . In: National Register of Historic Places database . National Park Service , December 13, 1979, accessed August 1, 2017 (English, 405 KB), p. 3.
- Thomas J. Carrier: Washington DC: A Historical Walking Tour . P. 88 .
- Barry Mackintosh: President's Park South: Nomination Form . In: National Register of Historic Places database . National Park Service , December 13, 1979, accessed August 1, 2017 (English, 405 KB), pp. 2, 3.
- President's Park South in the National Register Information System. National Park Service , accessed August 1, 2017.