The Shipbuilder

The Shipbuilder

Across the Potomac River, located in Old Town Alexandria’s Waterfront Park, which stretches between Prince and King Streets along the waterfront (MAP), is a statue dedicated to the city’s legacy as a colonial seaport and home to the shipbuilding industry.  Entitled “The Shipbuilder,” the statue was created by a local classical sculptor named Michael Curtis, whose other works can be found in the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court Building, The Library of Congress, various museums, and in public buildings throughout the country.  It is intended as a tribute to the craftsmen in the shipbuilding industry, which is considered to have played a vital role in the city’s early development.

The seven-foot-tall bronze statue of a 19th-century shipbuilder stands atop a three-foot carved hexagonal granite plinth.  It specifically depicts a rigger or lineman, although it symbolically represents the more than 30 different trades involved in shipbuilding at that time.  The statue’s rigger is holding what was called a “run around sue” type of rope, and is dressed in clothes representative of that era, which were often made from leftover sail cloth.

The idea for the statue was originally brought forth as part of the city of Alexandria’s 250th Anniversary Celebration in 1999.  It was gifted to the city by The Friends of Public Art for the Year of Celebration, a citizens group interested in promoting Alexandria’s historical heritage as a significant American seaport, and unveiled and dedicated to the city in 2004 by the Alexandria Arts Safari, a nonprofit organization that supports public art, education and history projects.

The warm and pleasant weather typical of the D.C. area at this time of year makes the ride to “Old Town” worthwhile in and of itself, but I suggest a visit to The Shipbuilder, and perhaps lunch in one of the neighborhood’s many excellent eateries, before riding back across the river to D.C.

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Comments
  1. amforte66 says:

    Wow, that’s a really new statue! We enjoy walking around Old Town. Biking there is a bit crowded, but the GW Parkway trail is nice!

    Like

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