East Potomac Park in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Cuban Friendship Urn
El recuerdo del “Maine” tendrá eterna duración durante los siglos los lazos de la amistad entre la tierra de Cuba y la tierra de los Estados Unidos de Norte América. —Gerardo Machado
(plaque on base) Esta copa fué esculpida de un fragmento de la columna de mármol del monumento a las víctimas del “Maine” ericido en la ciudad de La Habana, cuya columna fué derribada por el ciclón de 20 de Octubre de 1926.
The memory of the “Maine” will last forever through the centuries [as will] the bonds of friendship between the homeland of Cuba and the homeland of the United States of North America. —Gerardo Machado.
This urn was sculpted from a fragment of the marble column from the Monument to the Victims of the “Maine” erected in the city of Havana. The column was toppled by the October 20, 1926 hurricane.
Location. 38° 52.712′ N, 77° 2.295′ W. Marker is in East Potomac Park, District of Columbia, in Washington Click for map. It is at the western edge of the parking lot situated between the two spans of the 14th Street bridge. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20024, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Defender of Liberty (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Thomas Jefferson (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Line of Duty (approx. ¼ mile away); The Gift of Friendship (approx. 0.3 miles away); Air Mail (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Gift of Trees - The 1910 Shipment (approx. half a mile away); Navy and Marine Memorial (approx. half a mile away in Virginia); Japanese Pagoda (approx. 0.6 miles away but has been reported missing).
More about this marker. President Gerardo Machado of the Republic of Cuba gave the monument to President Calvin Coolidge of the United States of America in 1928 and it was placed in East Potomac Park, in the vicinity of its present location. In 1957 it was removed during the construction of the present 14th Street bridge and forgotten. In 1996 an inquiry to a local newspaper with a photograph of the urn on lying its side in a Park Service storage yard started the rehabilitation of the monument, which was returned to East Potomac Park in 1998.
Also see . . .
1. Sinking of USS Maine, 15 February 1898. “USS Maine, a second-class battleship built between 1888 and 1895, was sent to Havana in January 1898 to protect American interests during the long-standing revolt of the Cubans against the Spanish government. In the evening of 15 February 1898, Maine sank when her forward gunpowder magazines exploded. Nearly three-quarters of the battleship’s crew died as a result of the explosion. While the cause of this great tragedy is still unsettled, contemporary American popular opinion blamed Spain, and [the Spanish-American War] followed within a few months.”
2. The Monument to the USS Maine in Havana, Cuba. "On October 20, 1926, a hurricane struck the island. The corinthian columns were toppled and broken, as were the eagle and lintel. In November of the same year, funds were appropriated to repair the monument."
3. Have You Seen This Monument?. 1996 article by John Cloud in the Washington City Paper. “True story: Some time in the last 30 years, the National Park Service misplaces a monument. Not the Jefferson Memorial—just a small monument, a marble urn. And unlike the city’s marquee memorials, the monument—called the ‘Cuban Friendship Urn’—recalls an era that everyone has forgotten. Eventually, park officials stop worrying about the missing urn: Who’s going to complain? Fidel Castro?”
4. Viva La Urn. Scroll down to the last paragraph for this 1998 entry in the Washington City Paper. “After an expenditure of $11,000 to remove scratches, rejoin fractured pieces, and replicate bronze plaques, the 7-foot urn is in fine shape, says Park Service spokesperson Earle Kittleman, and available for public viewing in East Potomac Park.”
5. . . . seen a “forgotten” memorial to a friendship on the rocks. 2004 paragraph and photo in the Washington Post. “ The urn, misplaced for almost 50 years after it was moved to make way for the 14th Street bridge, was found in a National Park Service warehouse in 1996.”
1. The Sculptor of this monument?
The sculptor's name is not readily available. But a good guess can be made. The original monument in Havana was designed by Felix Cabarrocas, a Cuban architect, artist and sculptor. As he was involved in the reconstruction of the monument to the Maine in Havana in 1927, from which the piece of marble used to make this urn was taken, its likely that he was involved in the making of the urn.
Additional keywords. Cuban American Friendship Urn, Cuban–American Friendship Urn, Maine Memorial
Categories. • War, Spanish-American •
Credits. This page originally submitted on May 23, 2008, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,486 times since then. This page was the Marker of the Week February 15, 2015. Photos: 1. submitted on May 25, 2008, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 23, 2008, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. 6. submitted on November 12, 2011, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. 7. submitted on January 3, 2013, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. 8, 9. submitted on November 8, 2013, by J. Makali Bruton of San Salvador, El Salvador.