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George Washington Monument, Chapultepec

The George Washington Monument in Chapultepec was presented as a gift from the US government during the late Porfiriato. Today, as much as anything, the monument explains the name of the Plaza Washington in the Colonia Juárez. The quaint intersection of Dinamarca and Londres streets marks the original site of the statue. But one need only briefly visit the charming little plaza to see that it’s rather small for such a formidable work. It arrived in Chapultepec’s second section in 1970.

The work was rather controversial early on. Both the Del Paseo neighborhood, named for Paseo de la Reforma, and the De la Teja neighborhood, were being developed with heavy US investment. That led to the combined neighborhood’s being referred to as the “Colonia America.” By 1906, the neighborhood had to be rather pointedly renamed for Benito Juárez, the “Benemérito de las Américas.”

Just in time for the centennial of Mexican Independence, the US Government made a gift of the statue. It was not unveiled until 1912 by Francisco Madero. But with the 1914 invasion of Veracruz, the statue was rather dramatically vandalized. Some sources claim it was even dragged through the streets. Considering the statue’s weight, this is not likely.

The statue is the work of Italian sculptor, Pompeo Cappini. A native of the Lombardy region, he’d been living in Texas since 1901. There, he’s especially well-known for the Alamo Cenotaph which still stands in Austin. He’d completed two other Washington portrait statues, although his monuments to Confederate soldiers are especially prominent in Texas.

Cappini’s design in bronze shows Washington’s right hand extended as a sign of friendship, with his hat in the left. In the Plaza, he faced to the north.

The 1970 relocation of the statue was intended to improve mobility at the intersection. Today, Washington’s rather forlorn view down one of the tree-lined streets of the park is a lot more tranquil. Mexico-US relations are too.

How to get here
  • Kiosko/C. Lago Mayor, Bosque de Chapultepec II Secc, Alc. Miguel Hidalgo, 11040 CDMX


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