“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
West Potomac Park in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

John Ericsson Memorial

National Mall & Memorial Parks, Washington, D.C.


— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —

John Ericsson Memorial Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Richard E. Miller, April 16, 2009
1. John Ericsson Memorial Marker
“I love this country. I love its people and its laws, and I would give my life for it just as soon as not.”
John Ericsson.

Swedish-born John Ericsson revolutionized maritime navigation through the first practical use of a stern-mounted propeller. Ironically, he remains better known for an invention to sink ships not propel them.

During the early stages of the Civil War, concern over the Confederate iron-clad vessel Virginia gripped American seaports. Wooden-hulled ships remained no match for those sheathed in armor.

On March 9, 1862, the USS Monitor–an ironclad of Ericsson’s design–fought the Virginia to a draw at Hampton Roads near Norfolk, Virginia. Its success initiated construction of more Ericsson-designed ironclads President Abraham Lincoln’s increasingly formidable arsenal.

Following the war, Ericsson continued his ground-breaking work in the fields of naval engineering and solar power development. His successful provided a shining example of immigrants who journeyed to American shores in search of a better way of life.

The Memorial
John Ericsson Memorial image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones, May 8, 2022
2. John Ericsson Memorial
Unfortunately the marker has weathered significantly.
Click or scan to see
this page online
by the American Scandinavian Alliance, Congress authorized the John Ericsson Memorial in 1916. Architect Albert Randolph Ross and sculptor James Earle Fraser were tapped to be its creative forces. The memorial was dedicated on May 29, 1926, before a crowd of 5,000, which included President Calvin Coolidge and Swedish Crown Prince Gustav Adolf. Frasier’s sculpture embodies Ericsson seated in deep thought, shadowed by the female figure of Vision, an American ironworker as Labor, and a Viking warrior as Adventure. At their back stands the tree of life from Norse mythology. All are symbols of Ericsson’s genius, heritage, and adopted homeland. The pink Milford, Massachusetts used here is also used in the Lincoln Memorial. In fitting tribute, these two guardians of the Union – Lincoln and Ericsson – together maintain silent watch along the Potomac River.

Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics and series. This historical marker and memorial is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #30 Calvin Coolidge series list. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1876.
Location. 38° 53.207′ N, 77° 2.995′ W. Marker is in West Potomac Park
John Ericsson Memorial Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Richard E. Miller, April 16, 2009
3. John Ericsson Memorial Marker
with the memorial in the background, on its island in Ohio Drive.
in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is on Ohio Drive Southwest south of Independence Avenue Southwest, on the right when traveling north. The memorial on an island in the middle of Ohio Drive in West Potomac Park, one blocks south of the Lincoln Memorial. The marker is accessible to pedestrians on the east side of Ohio Drive, just south of Independence Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2912 Independence Ave SW, Washington DC 20037, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John Ericsson (a few steps from this marker); Korean War Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lincoln Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Alaska and Hawaii (approx. 0.2 miles away); A National Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Vietnam Veterans Memorial (approx. ¼ mile away); Canada's Gift to the United States (approx. 0.3 miles away); Rehabilitating a National Treasure (approx. 0.3 miles away).
More about this memorial. The marker displays a portrait of John Ericsson 1803-1889, a blueprint of the USS Monitor and a background painting of the Battle of Hampton Roads.
Also see . . .  John Ericsson. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers website entry (Submitted on July 16, 2021, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.) 
Additional keywords. U.S. Navy; Swedish Americans.
John Ericsson image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Matthew Brady, 1863
4. John Ericsson
Naval Historical Center, online library.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 8, 2022. It was originally submitted on April 16, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,406 times since then and 68 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on April 16, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   2. submitted on May 8, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   3, 4. submitted on April 16, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Aug. 12, 2022