J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Great Hamilton

Ten years ago Hamilton, Ohio, founded in 1791, installed a statue of its namesake, Alexander Hamilton. (The city has branded itself as a “City of Sculpture.”)

Kristen Visbal won the competition to design and produce the Hamilton statue. As you can see, its most striking feature is the thirteen-star American flag that the Federalist politician is shown wearing as a cape, billowing from his shoulders. In fact, the official name of the statue is “The American Cape.”

At over twelve feet high, this is said to be the largest statue of Hamilton in existence, bigger than Boston’s, the Treasury Department’s, Columbia University’s, or Paterson, New Jersey’s.

However, the marble statue of Hamilton made for the New York Merchants Exchange in 1835 is said to have been fourteen feet high on its base—I don’t know how that compares. That tribute was on display for less than a year before being destroyed when the building burned down.


John L. Smith said...

Is it technically legal to wear the American flag (of any sort) as an apparel cape? Just wondering...

J. L. Bell said...

The U.S. Flag Code does rule out clothing based on the flag, but that statute is advisory, unenforceable, and far more honored in the breach these days.

Anonymous said...

I hesitate to point out that the wrinkling of the gentleman's garments points to a place other than his shoulders, a place which I found noticeable. I do apologize.

J. L. Bell said...

Well, this is Hamilton, after all.

Anonymous said...

...and he perfected his aim in the artillery during the war.