George Mason Memorial

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George Mason Memorial
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
Side Trip - Washington DC 136.JPG
George Mason Memorial at night
Map showing the location of George Mason Memorial
Map showing the location of George Mason Memorial
Location Washington, D.C., United States
Coordinates 38°52′46″N 77°2′21″W / 38.87944°N 77.03917°W / 38.87944; -77.03917Coordinates: 38°52′46″N 77°2′21″W / 38.87944°N 77.03917°W / 38.87944; -77.03917
Established Authorized: 1990
Groundbroken: 2000
Dedicated: 2002
Governing body National Park Service
Website George Mason Memorial

The George Mason Memorial is a national memorial to George Mason in East Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States.[1] It, the Jefferson Memorial, and the D.C. War Memorial are the only three National Mall sites where weddings are permitted.[2] The Memorial is one of several outdoor public art installations in Ward 2 of the District. It is near the Potomac River crossing also named for Mason, the George Mason Memorial Bridge.[3]

The memorial commemorates the contributions of Mason, a Founding Father who wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights, served as a delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, and created much of the language, inspiration, and groundwork for what became the United States Bill of Rights. Mason, an Anti-Federalist, did not sign the United States Constitution because it did not abolish the slave trade and because he did not think it had necessary protection for the individual from the federal government.[1] He was sometimes known as the "reluctant statesman", which was also the title of a biography written about him by Robert A. Rutland.[4]


The memorial was authorized by Public Law 101-358 on August 10, 1990, to be developed by the board of regents of Gunston Hall.[5]

The site selected was 900 Ohio drive, close to the Jefferson Memorial. The design features a 72-foot (22 m) long stone wall with a one-third larger than life-sized statue[6] of a sitting Mason, his legs crossed, and a circular pool with a fountain . The landscape architect was Faye B. Harwell and the sculptor was Wendy M. Ross. The groundbreaking was October 18, 2000, and the completed memorial was dedicated on April 9, 2002.[1]

The George Mason Memorial is administered as part of the National Park Service and is within the jurisdiction of the National Mall and Memorial Parks.[1] It is located near the intersection of Ohio Drive and East Basin Drive, SW, which is in West Potomac Park, District of Columbia.[7]


The circular hedges and pool are supported by a 9 ft × 72 ft (2.7 m × 21.9 m) trellis that curves around the back of the memorial. [1] Underneath the trellis are three walls with inscriptions that are 4 feet (1.2 m) high. [1]

"This was George Mason, a man of the first order of wisdom among those who acted on the theatre of the revolution, of expansive mind, profound judgment, cogent in argument.... Thomas Jefferson, 1821" [1]

"Regarding slavery.... that slow poison, which is daily contaminating the minds and morals of our people. Every gentlemen here is born a petty tyrant. Practiced in acts of despotism and cruelty, we become callous to the dictates of humanity, and all the finer feelings of the soul. Taught to regard a part of our own species in the most abject and contemptible degree below us, we lose that idea of the dignity of man, which the hand of nature had implanted in us, for great and useful purposes.... George Mason, July 1773" [1]

"I recommend it to my sons.... never to let the motives of private interest or ambition to induce them to betray, nor the terrors of poverty and disgrace or the fear of danger or of death deter them from asserting the liberty of their country, and endeavoring to transmit to their posterity those sacred rights to which themselves were born. George Mason, March 1773" [1]

"All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural rights... among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. George Mason, May 1776" [1]

"The first declaration of rights which truly deserves the name is that of Virginia... and its author is entitled to the eternal gratitude of mankind. Marquis de Condorcet, Paris 1789" [1]


Cherry Blossoms[edit]

Panorama of the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin.[11]

In 1912, the people of Japan sent 3,020 cherry trees to the United States as a gift.[12] Then First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of then Ambassador Chinda Sutemi, planted the first two cherry trees on the northern bank of the Tidal Basin.[12] Those two trees today stand at the southern end of 17th Street.[12] The rest of the trees were planted around the Tidal Basin and at East Potomac Park.[12] The George Mason Memorial is home to some of those 3,020 cherry trees, and so is a part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Jarvis 2016b.
  2. ^ Ruyle 2012; Montgomery 2015.
  3. ^ Rehnquist 2001.
  4. ^ Rutland 1980.
  5. ^ 101st Congress 1990.
  6. ^ another bronze statue of George Mason can be found on the George Madon University campus in Fairfax, VA
  7. ^ Jarvis 2014.
  8. ^ December 2014
  9. ^ December 2014
  10. ^ December 2014
  11. ^ Taken 23 July 2007
  12. ^ a b c d Jarvis 2016a.
  13. ^ Sadon 2015.


  1. 101st Congress (1990-08-10), An act to authorize the Board of Regents of Gunston Hall to establish a memorial to George Mason in the District of Columbia 
  2. Montgomery, David (2015-09-15). "In the stories it tells, the National Mall reflects America’s state of constant change". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  3. Jarvis, Jonathan B. (22 March 2016a), "History of the Cherry Trees", Cherry Blossom Festival (National Park Service), archived from the original on 2016-03-22, retrieved 2016-03-22 
  4. Jarvis, Jonathan B. (2014-10-20), National Mall Map, National Park Service 
  5. Jarvis, Jonathan B. (15 Feb 2016b). George Mason Memorial. Washington, DC: National Park Service. 
  6. Rehnquist, William (April 27, 2001). "Remarks by William R. Rehnquist". United States Supreme Court. Retrieved November 3, 2015. 
  7. Rutland, Robert A. (1980-04-01). George Mason: Reluctant Statesman. LSU Press. ISBN 978-0-8071-5343-7. 
  8. Ruyle, Megan (2012-02-14). "Plan for a capital wedding" (Text). TheHill. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  9. Sadon, Rachel (2015-04-08). "Use The Tinder Of Cherry Trees To Have A Personal Cherry Blossom Festival". DCist. Retrieved 2016-06-26. 

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