Welcome to Hidden Memorials: a series that gives a brief introduction to the city's lesser known monuments, memorials and statues. Today, let's delve into the Cuban Friendship Urn.
It's time to give this memorial a proper re-introduction although its intrigue has already been noted. Still, how many of the District's monuments have mysteriously disappeared only to magically pop up decades later? Understandably, this statue celebrating the bonds of friendship between the U.S. and Cuba arrived in the States when the two countries were on friendlier terms. Previously the seven foot marble urn commemorating the fallen American sailors aboard the U.S.S. Maine off the Cuban coast had stood atop a building in Havana. However, it was sent to President Calvin Coolidge as a gift in 1928, two years after a hurricane had knocked it off of its pedestal. This was not the last time that the memorial would suffer destruction. In 1959, the urn vanished entirely from the front of the Cuban Embassy, coinciding with the introduction of Fidel Castro as the country's leader. The details of its disappearance and re-emergence in the mid-1990s remain fuzzy, but the renovated urn now stands near some of the city's more famous memorials.
· Cuban Friendship Urn [Wikipedia]
· Intriguing Spots on the National Register of Historic Places [CDC]