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Identification:

Preferred Structure Name:
Columbus Plaza - Wash. Light Std. (12) - Res. 334
Structure Number:
33410008
Other Structure Name(s):
 
Other Structure Name(s)
No records.
Park:
National Mall & Memorial Parks
Historic District:
 
Historic District
1. 
L'Enfant Plan for District of Columbia
Structure State:
District of Columbia
Structure County:
Washington
Region:
National Capital
Administrative Unit:
National Mall & Memorial Parks
LCS ID:
046758
 
Historical Significance:

National Register Status:
Entered - Documented
National Register Date:
04/24/1997
National Historic Landmark?:
No
Significance Level:
Contributing
Short Significance Description:
Columbus Plaza is significant as part of the L'Enfant Plan of the City of Washington, DC. It is a semicircular space that serves as a forecourt for Union Station. Lights were designed by Burnham & Millet in 1910 to illuminate areas within Washington as part of the City Beautiful transformation.
Long Significance Description:
Columbus Plaza is significant as part of the L'Enfant Plan of the City of Washington, District of Columbia. The plan meets National Register Criterion A for its relationship with the creation of the new United States of America and the creation of a capital city; it meets Criterion B because of its design by Pierre L'Enfant, and subsequent development and enhancement by numerous significant persons and groups responsible for the city's landscape architecture and regional planning; and it meets Criterion C as a well preserved, comprehensive, Baroque plan with Beaux Arts modifications.

Its origins are from the McMillan Commission plan, which directed urban improvements that resulted in the most elegant example of City Beautiful tenets in the nation. L'Enfant's plan was magnified and expanded during the early decades of the twentieth century with the reclamation of land for waterfront parks, parkways, an improved Mall, and new monuments and vistas.

Columbus Plaza was authorized by Congress in 1907 and built by the government for $110,000. Columbus Plaza is a semicircular space that serves as a forecourt for Union Station, from which radiate Louisiana, Delaware, and Massachusetts Avenues, and E and First Streets. The paved plaza is dominated by the elaborate Christopher Columbus Fountain (1912), incorporating benches and flanking fountains, in addition to the American Legion Freedom Bell (1981). A series of medians, double-standard Washington Globes, and a trio of eagle-topped flagpoles complete the park.

Lights were originally designed by Burnham & Millet in 1910 to illuminate residential & monumental areas within Washington as part of the City Beautiful transformation.
 
Construction Period:

Construction Period:
Historic
Chronology:
 
Physical Event
Begin Year
Begin Year AD/BC
End Year
End Year AD/BC
Designer
Designer Occupation
1. 
Built
1923
AD


Bacon, Henry
Other
2. 
Altered
1965
AD
1975
AD

Other
 
Function and Use:

Primary Historic Function:
Utility Service Structure
Primary Current Use:
Utility Service Structure
Structure Contains Museum Collections?:
No
Other Functions or Uses:
 
Other Function(s) or Use(s)
Historic or Current
No records.
 
Physical Description:

Structure Type:
Grounds/Landscape
Volume:
1 - 2,000 cubic feet
Material(s):
 
Structural Component(s)
Material(s)
1. 
Superstructure
Plastic
2. 
Superstructure
Iron
3. 
Substructure
Concrete
Short Physical Description:
12 double standard Washington Globe Light Standards illuminate the center plaza. Between 1965-75 the standards were switched from mercury to sodium. They consist of double plastic Grecian urn-shaped globes supported on fluted cast-iron posts with molded bases and capitals.
Long Physical Description:
12 double standard Washington Globe Light Standards illuminate the center plaza. Between 1965-75 the standards were switched from mercury to sodium. They consist of double plastic Grecian urn-shaped globes supported on fluted cast-iron posts with molded bases and capitals.