This photo shows the edge of Lafayette Square, where a group of students all sitting in black sat on the front steps of a private building. This group sat on the steps for about thirty minutes before they all got up at once and started walking in the direction of the White House. Whether this was a tour or a protest of some sort, I found the meeting place to be significant. Not only did they all meet directly across from the Square, but they sat and stayed in those positions for quite a while.
The second monument in honor of the revolutionary, Lafayette, stands in the middle of the square, enclosed inside of a fenced off, grass circle. Visitors cannot get as close to this monument as they can to his other statue, which they can climb on and touch. Unlike, the first monument, this was put in place in in the 1900s, 1924 exactly. This statue stays in line with the Washington Monument, which is visible directly behind the statue in this photograph. The enclosed nature of the statue as well as the placement in the square and in accordance to the Washington Monument gives this statue a more centric, important and historic feel.
“Lafayette Square, Washington, DC.” GSA Home,
In the U.S General Service Administration’s article on Lafayette Square in Washington DC, the GSA provides a detailed history of the park from its construction to present day. Additionally, this article notes the disparity between the historical uses of the park and the way that the park is used today. The article is written chronologically, beginning with the original use of the park in the 1700’s. These uses included a family graveyard, a zoo and a slave market among other things. The article then goes on to note the specific changes that certain presidents made to the square of the surrounding area. For example, President Thomas Jefferson who fenced off the square during his time in office. The article then takes us into the 1800’s and the rise of the square’s status, describing the area around the square and the way in which it was built up throughout the century. The status of those who lived around the square and the reputation of the area continued to rise. The article later describes the architects involved in making the square what it is today, as well as the stop put on the construction around the square due to its proximity to the white house.
I plan to use this source as a solid background source throughout my project. The article gives me a clear, chronological look on the timeline of Lafayette Square. This source also touches on external factors that have influenced the square throughout history, which will hopefully be useful when creating my project. Another aspect of this source that will most likely serve to help me when creating my project is the fact that it is relatively unbiased. The government nature of the site in which this article is posted leads me to believe that the piece is mostly fact based. Overall, I intend to use this article and what I learned while reading this article as a basis of information regarding the square as well as a good jumping off point.
Godfrey, Sarah. “Lafayette Park Is No Longer a Home for the Homeless – City Paper.”Lafayette Park
Is No Longer a Home for the Homeless – City Paper, 6 Aug. 2004,
The article, Lafayette Park is no Longer for the Homeless, by Sarah Godfrey, serves to illustrate the numerous ways in which past presidents have manipulated the square, in regards to homelessness, to fit their agenda. This piece, Godfrey examines the ways in which presidential nominees and presidents themselves used the well known homelessness in the square to their advantage, all the while the level of homelessness not changing. Godfrey goes on to highlight the image of inequality in America that the square exemplifies. For example, Godfrey notes the distance from the White House to the square, highlighting the difference between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. Godfrey further explains how the proximity of the most powerful, elevated place in the country to a square full of homeless people shows two opposite ends of the American socioeconomic spectrum.
I will most likely use this article when incorporating elements of demographic into my project. The different types of people that inhabit an area have a lot of influence over that area. This being said, if those inhabiting Lafayette Square differ greatly from those surrounding the square, it will be worth noting in my environmental analysis. I also like the way that this article brings up the bigger idea of the socioeconomic gap that is so prevalent in America today. I will hopefully incorporate this idea into my project in some way.