The Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain in Washington, D.C.

Written by
Jason Barnette
Posted on
September 18, 2014
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Written by
Jason Barnette
Posted on
September 18th, 2014
Share story

Two years visiting Washington, D.C., and I still haven’t seen water pouring through the Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain. But that’s alright, because the “front porch” of Union Station features some of the most beautiful architecture in the city, so I’m just as happy to look at the dry fountain. As an added bonus, it’s one of the easiest memorials to access in the nation’s capital.

Beautiful architecture of Union Station in Washington, DC, on Monday, August 18, 2014. Copyright 2014 Jason Barnette

Close up view of the details of the memorial.

I visited this memorial for the first time in 2013, walking past it several times as I came and went from Union Station riding the Metro. I stood out front at a large historic bell, then moved around to the front of the “fountain”. During this visit, I just though the entire structure was an elaborate memorial statue like so many others in the city.

It was not until I returned in 2014 that I discovered this used to be a functional, and quite beautiful, water fountain. The memorial was dedicated in 1912 and for many decades it was a splendid attraction at the hub of transportation in the city. But by the early 90s the fountain began showing significant wear and tear, and at some point later that decade the water stopped flowing. It is a real shame because anyone who follows my work knows how much I love all things that involve water, so this would have been one of my favorite places to visit.
Despite the fact the water no longer flows (and probably never will again with extensive renovation work) the site is something really beautiful to behold and certainly worth visiting. The equally impressive architecture of Union Station stands out in the background with stone statues standing guard near the top of the cavernous building. With a large plaza paved with bricks and several benches, this is a place anyone can enjoy with easy access.

Union Station is the hub of all major transportation in the city. With access to all the Metro train lines, several bus lines, and Amtrak, thousands of people a day will move through this area. This makes it easy to access for visitors; take one of the Metro lines to Union Station, exit up an escalator to street level, and you’ll find the memorial fountain just outside the station. You can also drive here (if you really must) and use the paid parking garage behind Union Station, walk through the station, and exit through the front doors to the memorial.

 

The Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain Photos

Beautiful architecture of Union Station in Washington, DC, on Monday, August 18, 2014. Copyright 2014 Jason Barnette

The large fountain wasn’t functional the day I visited, and I’m not sure if it ever functions now. Still, it matches the architecture of Union Station nicely.

If you would like to view more photos from The National Mall in Washington, D.C., please visit my website at http://photography.southeasterntraveler.com/Washington-DC/The-National-Mall/

The Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain Information

Location – The memorial fountain is located in front of Union Station in the Capitol Hills neighborhood.

Hours – This memorial is open 24/7.

Getting There – Union Station is the public transportation hub of the city: the DC Circulator, Metro, bus system, and several tours all converge here.

Handicap Accessibility – Yes.

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