The equestrian statue of George Washington is the crown jewel of the Boston Public Garden in the heart of the city.
The development of the statue began in 1859 when funds started to be raised for a statue of George Washington. The head of the monument’s fundraising committee, Alexander H. Rice, gave a speech that produced a significant amount of money. In 1859, he declared:
“This statue shall exhibit the resources of our own State in the production of works of its class. The artist is a citizen of Boston; the statue will be modeled here; it will also be cast in bronze at some one of the foundries of Massachusetts, and it is expected that abundant funds for defraying its cost will flow from the generosity of our own people”
There was also a great fair organized to raise money for the statue. Additionally, the city of Boston put aside $10,000 for the project and added another $5,000 it had leftover from another statue project. The statue was funded and commissioned by the end of 1859.
Thomas Ball, a Boston native, was the sculptor chosen to create the sculpture. Ball specialized in creating sculptures of statesmen and historical figures. The statue he created of Washington represents the first president in his middle years, and his face and demeanor are full of power and force. Both the horse and Washington have beautiful and natural lines. The statue is massive. The statue is 22 feet tall and the granite pedestal is 16 feet tall, so ultimately the statue is a whopping 38f feet tall. Thomas Ball worked on modeling the structure from 1859 to 1864. It was cast several years later after the civil war ended and enough bronze could be secured.
The statue’s position is particularly appealing. It is situated in the middle of one of the Garden’s most picturesque thoroughfares, tastefully enclosed, and flanked by lovely flower beds. On July 3, 1869, it was set in place and unveiled, with former Mayor Alexander Rice speaking at the event. Because all of the labor on the statue and its support was done by Massachusetts artists and craftspeople, the speech was also considered as a cause for celebration.
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- Year completed: 1869
- Dedicated to: George Washington
- Artist: Thomas Ball
- Height: 16 feet
- Material: Statue: Bronze & Base: Granite
- NRHP: 87000761
- Address: Public Garden
- Town: Boston
- State: Massachusetts
- GPS: Lat 42.35388 Lng -71.07098
- Parking notes: There are many metered parking spaces around the Boston Public Garden Lagoon on Charles St, Boylston St, Arlington St, and Beacon St. There is also the Boston Common Garage which is an extremely convenient and paid option.
- Parking directions: HERE
- Location directions: HERE