Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bartholdi Fountain- Been there; got the picture

Bob Kramp in front of the Bartholdi Fountain, Washington, DC.
In a previous entry, I uploaded a picture of my great grandparents, Henry C. Gailliot and Franceska, nee. Dumoulin, and my grandfather, Charles A. Gailliot, standing at the foot of the Bartholdi Fountain in Washington, DC, in the year, circa 1918. The dome of the Nation's Capital was shown in the distance. Today, the fountain is still in Washington, DC, but is located a short distance from where it was 90 years ago. Now, the fountain is in a triangular park, southwest of the capital, BEHIND the National Botanical Gardens, between Independence Avenue, First Street, and Washington Ave. It has been described as Washington's best kept secret for a place to relax and enjoy a sunny, warm day, while viewing a collection of the world's most beautiful flowers.

Incidentally, the dome of the Capital can still be seen from the park, but it is obscurred by a large tree in these pictures.

The Bertholdi Fountain, or sculpture as it could best be described because it is dry, was designed by Frederic Bertholdi. He was born in Colmar, in Haute Rhin, Alsace. My great grandmother, Franceska was also born in Alsace, but in Bas Rhin (lower Rhine), in 1871, and now I wonder if she didn't make the trip to the fountain because it was associated with one of her fellow countrymen. Bertholdi also designed the Statue of Liberty which the Alsacian immigrant, Franceska Dumoulin, might have seen on her arrival in New York Harbor in the early 1890s. It's no wonder that Bertholdi and his works were popular among my immigrant ancestors.

Surrounding the Bertholdi Fountain are gorgeous plants in peak bloom, such as this example of a Peoni- and they are labeled for the world traveler: Paeoni lactiflora, "Westerner", Butter cup family, Ranunculaceae.

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