Campus landmarks are a quintessential part of the University. Iconic buildings, statues, open spaces and other landmarks – and their histories and legends – are among the special elements that unite the GW community. Knowing about the landmarks can save campus newcomers from the embarrassment of, for example, heading to the National Zoo when someone says “Meet me by the Hippo.” For the record, the hippo sculpture on the Foggy Bottom campus is GW’s unofficial mascot.
With entrances on H, 20th, and 21st streets, NW, the University Yard is a favorite spot for students to study, relax and meet friends on beautiful days. The open area studded with benches, trees, grass and flowers includes rose gardens at the north and west entrances. Those roses bloom from early May through the fall. The brick walkways that converge at the center of the University Yard lead from the GW Law School and other academic buildings.
George Washington Statue
A bronze statue of George Washington stands at the north entrance of the University Yard, just past the rose garden. The statue is a cast of the 18th-century marble original by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon.
In 1996, GW’s then-President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg gave a gift to the Class of 2000--a bronze hippopotamus. Since it was installed at the corner of 21st and H streets, NW, the popular sculpture has become an unofficial GW mascot.
Tall European-design clocks rise from three locations on the campus. One anchors the center of Kogan Plaza, a popular lunch spot, a venue for student events and a rendezvous point for friends.
Four busts of GW’s namesake appear at four street intersections on the campus. The busts carry the University’s name and serve as a reminder of GW’s presence within the city at the same time they fuel student pride.
The first U.S. memorial to Russian poet and writer Alexander Pushkin was erected at The George Washington University in September 2000. “This statue will serve as a great inspiration to our students who are drawn to the elegance, wit and lightness of Pushkin’s language and the accessibility of his imagery,” former GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said when the memorial was installed. The statue is found at 22nd and H streets, NW.
Tempietto (“Little Temple”)
A classical structure in Kogan Plaza, the Tempietto adds an aesthetic touch to a busy GW location. Students use the Tempietto as a gathering spot in the center of campus.
Beside Gelman Library and behind Lisner Auditorium is the University’s equivalent of an outdoor living room. Kogan Plaza is home to the Tempietto, a clock, a fountain, benches, a full outdoor classroom and tables and chairs for outside dining or studying.
The Lenthall Houses are two of the oldest buildings in the District of Columbia. They went up on 19th Street, NW, and then were moved to their present location at 606 and 610 21st St. in 1978 to make room for an annex to the World Bank. They were designed and built by John Lenthall, the principal assistant to Benjamin Latrobe in the construction of the U.S. Capitol and superintendent of the building from 1803-1808. The houses are Federal-style brick buildings that are used for visiting faculty.
At 1925 F St., NW, a historical building serves as home to GW President Steven Knapp. Once the site of the prestigious F Street Club, the beautiful building was renovated and now watches over Thurston Hall.
GW Lisner Auditorium
Lisner Auditorium opened its doors in the fall of 1946 and, for many years, was the only sizable theater in Washington. Composed of marble, the auditorium’s spare design, spaciousness and ultra-modern lighting system set it apart from other performance venues of its period. It opened with 1,550 seats and a 59-foot stage, reportedly the largest south of New York City. Ingrid Bergman performed here in 1949. Before the Kennedy Center was built, Lisner Auditorium, at 730 21st St., NW, was Washington’s focal point for music and dramatic performances. Susan Whitney Dimock bequeathed money for the Dimock Gallery next to the lower Lisner Lounge.
This pocket park on F Street between 22nd and 23rd streets, NW, commemorates GW’s 175th anniversary. Complete with a garden, benches and grills for gatherings, Anniversary Park is a valued space on the south end of the city campus.
Just north of the The George Washington University Hospital, the circle features a bronze equestrian statue of George Washington at its center. The circle was dedicated in February 1860 on the eve of the Civil War. It depicts Washington at the 1776 Battle of Princeton.
This block-long, mixed-use commercial space at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, was constructed in the 1980s behind a group of Victorian townhouses. Owned by GW, it includes shops and restaurants on the lower level and first floor, and offices on the upper floors. The structure’s facade holds the distinction of being the only stretch of architecture between the White House and Washington Circle that retains its historic character without intrusion.
Three ornamental iron gates, part of a major plan to enhance GW’s Foggy Bottom campus, mark the entrances to Kogan Plaza. Professors Gate stands on 21st Street, NW, next to Lisner Auditorium. Across the quadrangle on 22nd St., NW, is America’s Gate, endowed by alumnus Emilio Fernandez. Americas Gate commemorates cultural diversity in the United States. On H Street, NW, Trustees Gate marks the main entrance to Kogan Plaza.
Once a popular pharmacy and GW gathering place, the building at 619 21st St., NW, has hung onto its importance as a GW hotspot. Although it retains Quigley’s exterior facade, the building is now home to Tonic Restaurant, an American cuisine eatery that has revitalized the 21st Street address.
Housed in two pre-Civil War townhouses, 1918 F St., NW, is home to GW’s Office of Alumni Relations. Alumni House has a rich heritage. It contains historic furniture and artwork from President Ulysses S. Grant. His grandson Ulysses S. Grant III, a former GW trustee, donated the furniture to the University in the 1950s.
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (JBKO) Hall
The residence hall at 2222 Eye St., NW, is dedicated to GW’s most noted alumna. Several portraits of the former first lady grace the hall’s lobby, offering students a daily reminder of her brilliance and sophistication.