Francis Asbury (Lukeman)
|Architect||Henry Augustus Lukeman|
|NRHP Reference #||07001052|
|Added to NRHP||October 11, 2007|
Francis Asbury, also known as the Francis Asbury Memorial, is a public equestrian statue, by American artist Augustus Lukeman, located at 16th Street and Mt. Pleasant Street, Northwest, Washington, D.C., in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood.
This bronze sculpture features Francis Asbury seated upon his horse wearing a cape and hat. In his proper right hand he holds a bible. The horse is bending its head down to lick its left leg. The sculpture sits on a granite base (approx. 100 in. x 140 in. x 200 in.). On the proper left side of the sculpture, near the base, it is signed "Augustus Lukeman Sc 1921."
The sculpture is inscribed on the front of the base:
On the left side of the base it is inscribed:
HIS CONTINUOUS JOURNEY THROUGH CITIES
VILLAGES AND SETTLEMENTS FROM 1771 TO 1816
GREATLY PROMOTED PATRIOTISM EDUCATION MORALITY
AND RELIGION IN THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC
Act of Congress
On the right side of the base it is inscribed:
IF YOU SEEK FOR THE RESULTS OF HIS LABOR
YOU WILL FIND THEM
IN OUR CHRISTIAN CIVILIZATION
And on the back of the base it is inscribed:
OF THE LONG ROAD
Francis Asbury Statue Washington D.C. Dedication Events
During the leap year of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson and the 66th Congress of the United States gave approval to the site and location for the Francis Asbury Statue. This formal event which occurred on February 29, 1919 allowed for the newly formed Francis Asbury Memorial Foundation to begin its work to raise monies for the Francis Asbury Statue.
For design of the statue, The Francis Asbury Memorial Foundation chose Mr. Evarts Tracy.
The distinguished designer from the New York architectural firm, Tracy and Swartwout, was not only a talented architect and designer, he was the great-great grandson of Roger Sherman, a signer of the American Declaration of Independence. In addition to his design architectural design experience, Mr. Evarts Tracy was commissioned years earlier to design camouflage techniques for the troops on the front line of World War I. The design of the Francis Asbury Statue by Mr. Evarts Tracy began in the year 1919. Upon completion of the design, the Francis Asbury Memorial Foundation chose the Roman Bronze Works of New York to build the equestrian memorial. In 1921, the Roman Bronze Works in turn commissioned the independent artist, Henry Augustus Lukeman to sculpt the Asbury Statue.
The American sculptor was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1872: at the early age of ten he began to sculpt with wood and clay. Through a workshop at the New York based Boys' Club he learned the basics of sculpting. For the next three years, his fascination with the art form led him to study under the Irish artist and immigrant, Launt Thompson. By the age of sixteen, Augustus Lukeman gained an apprenticeship at the New York City based foundry founded by Mr. John Williams. He remained in this learning program until 1891 when he reached the age of nineteen. For the next few years, Augustus Lukeman spent his days studying and working with terra cotta and his evenings studying drawing techniques and antiques at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.
By the summer of 1924, Augustus Lukeman was nearly complete with the Francis Asbury Statue.
Wednesday, October 15, 1924 at 2:30 pm, several thousand people gather to view the dedication ceremony for the Francis Asbury Statue. Dignitaries from Washington D.C. seat on the white-draped platform. The photos from the day were taken from an advantageous viewpoint. The article, Francis Asbury Statue Dedication, displays the photos from the actual event.
In one of the photos, President Calvin Coolidge stands at the podium, ready to give his speech which contains the famous phrase about Francis Asbury which many who know of Asbury are familiar with, “He is entitled to rank as one of the builders of our nation.”
Another photo from the day of the dedication displays the patriotic manner in which the statue was vailed before the ceremony. Two large American flags flank either side of the statue. “The shot taken from the crowd level is a stunning depiction of Francis Asbury and the flags of his adopted country. A country in which he spent nearly his entire life leading the people of the frontier to Jesus Christ.”
The sculpture was founded by Roman Bronze Works in New York City. The piece was erected by the Francis Asbury Memorial Foundation and was approved by Congress on February 29, 1919. It was dedicated on October 15, 1924 and cost $50,000.
This sculpture was surveyed in 1994 for its condition and was described as "well maintained."
- Save Outdoor Sculptures! (1994). "Francis Asbury, (sculpture)". SOS!. Smithsonian. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
- dcMemorials (2006). "ASBURY, Francis: Statue north of Meridian Hill Park in Washington, D.C.". Sixteenth Street area. dcMemorials. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
- DeFilippo, Al. "Francis Asbury Statue Dedication". www.francisasburytriptych.com.
- National Park Service (2010). "Monuments, Statues and Memorials". Rock Creek Park. National Park Service. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
- 13 historic photos of Washington D.C. which features a photograph of the dedication of the statue.
- The Asbury Triptych Series: Website contains numerous articles about Francis Asbury and also articles on the Francis Asbury Statue
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