Notes of Some
Lafayette Monuments

This page contains some casual notes on initiatives toward commemorating the marquis de Lafayette. It is a working page and will be modified as more information is collected.
A small subscription magazine booklet: The Mentor, Lafayette by Albert Bushnell Hart published in January 1918. It has a photograph of Paul Wayland Barlett's statue. The statue is of the identical design to that which was placed at Metz by the Knights of Columbus in 1920. The caption with this photograph reads:
"The Childrens Statue of Lafayette. This statue, designed by the sculptor, Paul Wayland Barlett, was a gift to France in 1908, from five million American school children. It stands in a court of the Louvre, Paris."
However, the statue was removed a few years back to make space for a modern pyramid of steel and glass cover to a staircase leading to a lower level entrance to the museum. The new location of this statue is along the Cours Albert 1er [right bank of the Seine], between the Pont de l'Alma and the Pont des Invalids, not far from the statue of Bolivar.
Lafayette's monument along the Cours La Reine, in Paris, serves as the focus of many ceremonies. See 2004 Alliance Day Commemorations in Paris.
Sculpture by the American P.W. Bartlett and was inaugrated in 1920. It was the result of September 1919 decision by the American Association of the Knights of Columbus, which had created so many 'foyers of the Allied Soldiers' during the Great War (World War I), to offer to the city of Metz an equestrian statue of LaFayette "to commemorate the fraternal participation of France to the foundation of the United State (1775-1783) and to immortalize the sacrifice of the glorious French and American soldiers who died on the battlefields of Liberty, in 1914-1918." In August 1920, the statue, by the American sculptor Bartlett, was inaugurated in the Square Boufflers of Metz, at the very place where Lafayette stood in 1775, at the Governor's Palace. More that 2,000 Knights of Columbus attended the ceremony.

It was destroyed by the Nazis in the Second World War.

After the Liberation of Metz, the Third American Army and the American Legion restored the mutilated pedestal.

July 1983
A group of cyclists from America and from Lorraine, at the end of a bicycle tour of Alsace-Lorraine-Champagne, gathered around the pedestal in Metz and decided to initate a restoration of the statue. The initative was to be implemented on both sides of the Ocean to honor the 'Hero of the Two Worlds'. A Franco-American Committee was created for the purpose.

July 1984
A bicycle tour called 'Chevauch�e La Fayette' was organized by Lorraine and American cyclists, from Le Puy to Metz, via Chavanic, the cemetery Picpus, the Ch�teau de la Grange. A special bicycle jersey 'La Fayette' was conceived for the occasion.

A small-scale model of the proposed equestrian statue was made by Messin Artist, M. Claude Goutin, Premier Grand Prix de Rome. A special medallion was issued for American and French subscribers. A bank account named 'Project La Fayette' in Metz was registerd at Banque Populaire de Lorraine for the collection of subscription funds.

Lorraine and American groups launched a promotional campaign. The American cities named for La Fayette (La Fayette, Fayette, Fayetteville, La Grange) were made aware of the project.

Two bicycle-rides 'La Fayette' were programed for 1986 to publicize the project and to exhault the bicentenarian friendship between France and the United States.

Appears to be date of brochure from which much of this material has been obtained.

The monument is to commemorate the event that took place at the garrison in Metz, on 8 August 1775. Lafayette, as the young captain in the Régiment des Dragons de Noailles, attended an evening dinner on 8 August 1775, at the Govenror's Palace. The eighteen-year old marquis listened to the guest of honor, the duke of Gloucester (brother of the king of England) speak in rather positive terms of the rebelion in the American colonies. It was after this dinner, Lafayette decided that he would depart France and join the cause of American independance.

On 26 April 1777, Lafayette and a few companion volunteers sailed for American from the Spanish harbor of Pasajes aboard the ship La Victoire, which Lafayette had paid for with his personal funds. He landed in South-Inlet, near Georgetown, South Carolina (3 June 1777). He traveled to Philaldeplhia and presented himself to Congress. He was invited to join Washington's staff, and courageously participated in military operations. Eventually he was given some small commands. In January 1779, he returend to France to argue for more military and naval aid to the American cause. His message was received seriously at the Court of Versailles and contributed to the French sending both Rochambeau's military expedition in 1780, and de Grasse's large fleet to north American in 1781. Lafayette, himself returned to American, assumed his rank as an American major general, and led an independent command in a very critical Virginia campaign against Cornwallis in the summer of 1781. All of this led to the decisive victory at Yorktown in October 1781.

The initative to replace the statue in Metz, that was destroyed in WWII, has finally been realized. On 20 November 2004, the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Metz at the end of WWII, the inaugration of M. Goutin's equestrian statue of Lafayette took place in the Square Boufflers, Metz. Above, left is the new statue as photographed in winter of 2005; M. Goutin's small-scale model of statue at above, right. .
With French flag flying in the foreground, this statues of Lafayette was rededicated in February 2001 in LaGrange, Georgia. It is an exact replica of the one located in Le Puy, France. It was erected in 1996. The town's name derived from a remark Lafayette made when visiting the area in 1824. He stated how the countryside reminded him of his home, La Grange, located to the north of Paris. Hence the origin of the Georgia town being named 'LaGrange'.

There is an interesting account of the LePuy statue, located in the city's park. During the World War II occupation, the Nazis removed it from its pedestal and placed it on a truck for transport to be melted down for armaments. A few nights before the Germans were to remove it, six partisans slipped into the area to save the statue. They were foiled in their mission because the German truck failed to start. The next night, 60 partisans returned to hand carry the statue five miles, and buried it in a barn where it remained for the duration of the war. After the war, the statue was returned to its original place of honor.

Major General (US) Marquis de Lafayette (1787-1834).
Monument was constructed in 1891 at southeast corner of the Lafayette Park, Washington, DC. It is a bronze work that mounts a pedestal, around which are other bronze composite images of De Grasse with D'Estaing [below left], and Rochambeau with Duportail [below right].
Sculptors of this monument are Jean Alexandre Joseph Falgui�re and Marius Antonin Merci�.
Statue of Lafayette in the city of Baltimore, Maryland. It is located next to a monumemt to Washington.
French sculptor Frederick Auguste Bartholdi, whose is famous for the "Statue of Liberty" in New York Harbor, executed two statues of Lafayette � one of the Marquis alone (located in New York city), and the other with his hero and wartime leader, George Washington located in both Paris and New York City.

On 6 September 1876, the 119th anniversary of Lafayette�s birth, Bartholdi's statue of the Marquis was unveiled at Union Square in New York City.

On 19 April 1900, local dignitaries, members of Revolutionary and historical societies, the French Consul General, and hundreds of regular New Yorkers rallied into a small park in Harlem � at the junction of West 114th Street, Morningside- and Manhattan Avenues � for the dedication of a statue of the Marquis de Lafayette and George Washington, clasping hands.
This is a replica of Bartholdi's Lafayette et Washington erected in 1895 at Place des Etats-Unis (United States Square) in Paris.

Lafayette is also honored in Brooklyn's Prospect Park (9th Street and Park West) with a bas-relief on a stele by Daniel Chester French. A view of the monument, looking to the southeast. It was dedicated on May 10, 1917.

Return to webpage "Initial Lafayette Memorial at Metz".

Return to webpage The Marquis de Lafayette.

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Page created 15 September 2001; last updated 5 October 2010.