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Who Is That Man, Anyway?
Sculptor: Thomas Crawford
Location: Capitol Hill
( East Capitol Ave. & North Capitol Ave. )
Made of 7.5 tons of bronze,19.5 feet tall, Freedom is by law the tallest statue in DC. (Other statues are limited to no more than 19 feet.) Not the loveliest statue in DC by any means, her helmet is topped with an eagle's head and feathers and encircled with stars.
That was not the headdress Crawford had in mind. His original idea was a Freedom Cap -- a Roman headgear looking a bit like the triangular hat worn by Peter Pan and worn by former slaves when they became freed men. However, Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis believed this was a part of a Yankee abolitionist plot, so Crawford redesigned the statue.
The statue faces east. According to the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, this is because the East Front of the Capitol was intended to be the formal entrance to the Capitol. However, the unofficial study guide for the DC tour guide exam and other sources claim, more romantically, that this position was chosen "so the sun would never set on the face of Freedom."
The statue was brought down by helicopterfrom her perch atop the Capitol Dome in 1993 for a cleaning and restoration. Photos of that event along with a nine-foot replica of the statue can be seen at Freedom Plaza, behind the Newseum in Rosslyn, Virginia.
Photos and text copyright © 2001 Jean K. Rosales and Michael R. Jobe, All Rights Reserved
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