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Nate Greene: 1918

Nate Greene: 1918

"Greene statue circa 1918." Henry Kirke Brown's bronze of the Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene, in a Washington, D.C., park or square whose name we can't quite remember. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.


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Going Greene

This statue is similar to another statue of General Nathanael Greene in my hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina (named for General Greene). The image of Greene on his horse has been a local cultral icon for many years in Greensboro. The Battle of Guilford Courthouse took place there in 1781, and while the Americans lost, the British under Cornwallis were severly hampered in their fighting ability and never regained their prior strength. The statue was erected in 1915 and is the central monument to the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park.
You can see it at

Stanton Park, nowadays...

I live a few blocks from this statue, and people in the neighborhood really only refer to it as Stanton Park lately. It's also the name of the area around it until it becomes either the Union Station area or Lincoln Park neighborhood.

Steeds of War

So the deal is a live horse will bolt, but a bronze horse will unbolt. I think I get it.

Stanton Square

Oh, I am swooning! A genuine historical photo in Stanton Square. Our heart is all aflutter. The chap monopolizing the photo, however, is Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene. Congress appropriated $40,000 for statue on June 24, 1875 and commissioned sculptor Henry K. Brown. An additional $10,000 was appropriated for the granite pedestal. The statue erected in 1877 stood proud for many years until June 6th, 1930 when fatigue weakened the bolts holding the statue and ...

"the courageous general zoomed so precipitously that he was buried right up to his neck in the dry soil of Stanton Park. ... Men from the National Capital Park and Planning Commission were sent to the scene immediately to render such first aid as might be possible and to estimate the damage. They found the general's noble brow inextricably buried in the soil, and indeed his chin and shoulders, but, although they have not yet made their official report, it was apparent that the only actual damage done was to the greensward, and the only monetary loss involved is that of the labor of hoisting the general back up on his perch and replacing the six shattered bolts."
Washington Post, June 7, 1930

The statue has had detractors over the years....

"We all know the intelligence of the horse; how carefully he crosses a bridge, or picks his way upon our concrete streets during a rain, always looking where he is going.... always careful to place his feet on solid ground, and yet the designer of the mounted statue of Gen. Greene in Stanton square, has one of the horse's hoofs resting on a cannon ball, as if it was a trick animal in a circus, instead of a steed of war, bestrode by a general. This glaring fault belittles the whole appearance of the statue, from a military view, as the horse's head is held high, mane and tail tossing in the air, eyes wide and staring, nostrils dilated, as if 'he scents the battle from afar.'
-Disgustingly yours, Samuel H. Jacobson"
Washington Post, Jan 17 1895

Given the historic occasion of this post, I will once again, bashfully plug my growing mashup of Shorpy photos and Google Maps:

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Ssss .....

Stimson Squeegee? Staunton Circle? Steno School? It's on the tip of my tongue.

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