Source: George Washington Monument
George Washington, Union Square, Raleigh
William James Hubard, Unspecified
Jean Antoine Houdon , Sculptor
This bronze life-size statue of George Washington stands inside a gated area between two cannons at Union Square. Washington is in military uniform and holds a walking stick in his right hand. He looks to the southeast. He rests his left hand on his cloak, which is draped over a pillar of 13 rods. The monument is a replacement for another sculpture of Washington by Antonio Canova that was destroyed when the North Carolina Capitol burned.
The State of North Carolina
July 4, 1857
35.779950 , -78.639120
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Connor, Robert Digges Wimberly. Canova's Statue of Washington, (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Historical Commission, 1910), (accessed February 8, 2012) Link
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Bronze statue, granite base
Town of Edenton, North Carolina
July 4, 1857
On December 16, 1815, the state legislature unanimously adopted a resolution instructing the Governor “to purchase on behalf of this State a full length statue of General Washington.” After receiving advice from prominent statesmen and American artists, Italian sculptor Antonio Canova was hired to produce the statue. The completed monument reached Raleigh in December 1829. When the Capitol building caught fire on June 21, 1831, the fire destroyed Canova’s original statue of Washington. The cornerstone of a new capitol building was laid on June 4, 1833. But efforts to replace the destroyed statue foundered until citizens in the town of Edenton subsequently sponsored the casting of a replacement statue and gave it to the state government. The new monument was dedicated in 1857.
The monument is flanked on either side by cannons that were cast in France before the American Revolution. Also nearby are statues of Zebulon B. Vance and Charles B. Aycock, two former governors of North Carolina.
The monument is located in Union Square, just south of the North Carolina State Capitol, surrounded by statues of other heads of state.
The original Canova sculpture stood in the rotunda of the Capitol. After the building was rebuilt following the fire, a new sculpture was cast and the statue was moved outside to the front of the building. The original looked quite different, as Washington was sitting and wearing classical garb.
The statue is frequently used as a starting point for tours of the grounds of the North Carolina State Capitol.
The town of Edenton agreed to sponsor the creation of the statue after the original Canova statue was destroyed. The legislature granted approval to locate and unveil the statue on the Capitol Square grounds, rather than inside the Capitol where the original sculpture had been located, in 1857.
The original statue by Canova cost $12,000 and an additional $65,000 for renovations to the statehouse so that it could accommodate the sculpture. The recast monument cost $13,454 for the statue, and the necessary renovations to accommodate the monument in Capitol Square cost $1,821.