Historic Hydrants in Washington, D.C.

National Gallery & the Mall

Hydrant 4: East Wing of the National Gallery of Art

Located near James Rosati's white, giant-sized, untitled outdoor sculpture, the old-style hydrant marked"Eddy Valve Div. 1977 James B. Clow" is a perfect shaded spot to watch the passing scene. The General Meade Memorial is directly across Constitution Avenue. Were you to go inside the East Wing (the modernistic building at your back prohibits dogs inside), you wouldn't likely find a single Blue Dog painting on display nor one of pooches playing poker, either. But the National Gallery does own 166 dog-titled works of art (not necessarily displayed either). Notable among them: American artist Leonard Baskin's 1958 wood engraving, Love Me, Love My Dog; Marc Chagall's 1927-30 etching, The Ass and the Dog; Edouard Manet's 1875 oil on canvas, Tama, the Japanese Dog; Pablo Picasso's 1915 etching, Man with a Dog; and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's 1881 oil on wood, The Artist's Dog Flhche.

Walk This Way
Continue northwest along Pennsylvania Avenue until you cross Fourth Street NW; there make a beeline toward the lovely water fountains in front of the side door of the National Gallery of Art (the original building). These fountains shoot upward from this pretty plaza, sending a cascade of water down the slanted embankment-a work of art itself that you can observe while tourists in the underground tunnel connecting the gallery's east and west wings observe below. Now follow Fourth Street over to Madison Drive, the tree-shaded drive to your left and at the front of the National Gallery.

Hydrant 5: The National Mall

Across Madison and opposite the National Gallery's main entrance, about 60 feet into the Mall, is another good-old"James B. Clow" hydrant. From it you get another dazzling view of the Capitol to the east and farther across the green lawn of the Mall to the west, the distant Washington Monument. Although all has not gone quite as L'Enfant planned for the 400-feet-wide "Grand Avenue" that is today a national park, the National Mall is the most functional and delightful area of the city-and a dog-walker's dream come true.

Walk This Way
Already tired? Fourth Street is an ideal cut-through over to Jefferson Drive if you want to loop back early to the tour's end. Just cut across the Mall and turn left on Jefferson over near Hydrant 12.Otherwise, continue west on Madison and cross Seventh Street NW. There are plenty of idyllic bench-sitting opportunities under the Mall's manyelm trees.

Hydrant 6: The National Sculpture Garden

About 90 feet south on Seventh from its intersection with Madison, you find a rusty old green hydrant. From here, looking across Madison Drive, you can check out the construction underway to build one of the city's newest attractions. When finished, the outside sculpture park ought to be a great destination for art lover and dog lover alike.

Walk This Way
Bail out here if you or the dog is weary, and cut across the Mall to Hydrant 12. If not, continue along Madison Drive.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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