Sunday, February 17, 2008

Peace and Vigilance

The structure in the background of yesterday's picture is what we now call Old Post Office Building. Originally the U.S. Custom House and Post Office, it was dedicated in 1884 and housed a variety of federal government offices. One of its great little secrets is that a tunnel runs under the street on the east, three levels below the surface. There are huge iron doors from the tunnel into the lowest level of the building, once used to securely bring in government gold shipments. Today the tunnel carries the bit of our light rail system that is a subway.

The statue Peace and Vigilance with Eagle once stood on top of the front of the building. In recent decades, it became damaged by air pollution. The original statue was restored and re-installed in the rotunda. A fiberglass copy is now in the original location outdoors. The sculptor was Daniel Chester French, whose best known work is the seated figure of Abraham Lincoln in Washington's Lincoln Memorial.

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