Holy Awesome – Video: President Harding attends the unveiling of a statue of Jeanne d’Arc at Meridian Hill Park in 1922

Well this is freaking awesome. The Meridian Hill Neighborhood Association has a new initiative – they write:

“I wanted to let you know about a new MHNA initiative this year- an online compilation of neighborhood history. It’s just a start, but we’ve already unearthed some cool things: 1922 video footage of President Harding unveiling the Joan of Arc sculpture, a documentary on the New School of African American Thought (once at 2208 14th St), a full historic review of the 1300 block of Florida Ave, etc. In the coming month 3 graduate students from Georgetown will be interviewing some of the neighborhood’s older residents, writing up transcripts and posting them on our new site. We also hope to add more old photos too.

If you (or your readers) have old photos/videos/articles about the neighborhood, we’d love to scan & post them.”

But what got me super psyched is this 1922 video footage they found. Even though there is no sound the footage is mesmerizing. You can watch the video here. The explanation says:

“1922, January 6. Ceremony of unveiling a statue of Jeanne d’Arc in Meridian Park. Crowd assembled for the ceremony. President and Mrs Warren G Harding arrive at ceremony. Officials speak at stand. Unveiling of Jeanne d’Arc statue. Flags on poles. Man places bouquet and flowers in front of the statue. Secretary of War, John W Weeks speaks. Side view of statue. Various officials speak at ceremony.”

Photo by PoPville flickr user pablo.raw

24 Comment

  • Any word on how she lost her sword?

  • Thanks for posting Prince!

    The sword was lost due to vandalism, and has been missing for around a decade. I’ve been working with the NPS to get it fixed– it’s been over 2 year process, but should be happening sometime this year.

    Pres, MHNA

  • Is it just me or does the stage there get very little use. Why not have a summer concert series like Fort Reno there? Or summer Movies for that matter. Its a great central location. It’s close to Ustreet so would make for a good summer Jazz series.

    • Neighborhood opposition keeps anything more lively than the drum circles out of the park, unfortunately.

      • Of course..of course..
        Their strategy is clearly working – what better way to preserve the drunks peeing and down low sex in the park!? 🙂

      • not true, see MHNS pres explanation below – it’s NPS’ fault, not the neighborhoods.

    • Hey John, the stage gets used but not enough. There are rallies/marches that start there a couple of times a year, and there are random concerts (some great some terrible). I hear them all since we live on 15th across the street. Summer movies would be perfect if the NPS will go for it, they are very understaffed.

  • If it’s from 1922, I’m guessing it’s film, not video 🙂

  • The real issue with events in the park is NPS regulations- organizing a neighborhood event in a national park is not so easy. The 2nd annual U St film series at Harrison Park (near busboys on V/14th) is coming up soon though- stay tuned!

  • A bit off-topic, but once again, pablo.raw proves that he lives in a completely different world from the rest of us mortals. Pablo: have you run into Leonardo DiCaprio or Jake Gyllenhaal lately? The second photo is unreal!

  • Can we do a reenactment? I

  • Great update – thanks PoP!

  • what a strange memorial.


    and why was the president there?

    • You know, women couldn’t even vote yet when he was president. Here he is along with some women’s association, acknowledging one of history’s “strongest” women (forget what we personally might feel about her fantastical mission), and dedicating perhaps the only statue of a woman. So… think about all the politics there for a bit — it was quite progressive and symbolic. The suffragettes were agitating constantly in those days, as they had been building up strength for more than fifty years.

      • Oh my bad I just made a big booboo — I was thinking about Wilson who had lived nearby. Right Harding. Women had JUST gotten the vote… but anyway, same energy, same idea. This was an important symbol to women — and DC in particular had some badass strong, smart women. What other statues of women were existed here back then?

        • I’m impressed that you could detect your error, correct it, and then extend your point to the corrected information in just 3 minutes.

  • Love this! This would make a great regular feature- historical bits from various neighborhoods. Thank you PoP!

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