Women's Titanic Memorial
On April 15, 1912, more than 1500 people drowned on the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic, which had been advertised as unsinkable. After the Titanic’s sinking, a group of women organized to commission and erect a statue commemorating what they saw as the bravery and sacrifice of the men “who showed they were not afraid to die.”
The Women’s Titanic Memorial Association sought to raise money for the statue one dollar at a time. First Lady Helen Taft made the first donation, and over 25,000 women across the United States contributed over the next twenty years.
For the design of the statue, the Women’s Titanic Memorial Association sponsored a competition open to only female artists. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s Academic Abstraction design was selected in 1914.
John Harrigan carved the figure from a single piece of pink granite. Henry Bacon designed the exedra, which features dolphins diving over stylized waves.
The statue was dedicated on May 26, 1931, along the Potomac River at the intersection of Rock Creek Parkway and New Hampshire Avenue NW. In 1968, due to construction of the Kennedy Center, the statue was relocated to its present location along the Washington Channel in Southwest DC.
The Titanic Memorial Statue was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
The Inscription on the Memorial reads:
TO THE BRAVE MEN
IN THE WRECK
OF THE TITANIC
APRIL 15 1912
THEY GAVE THEIR
LIVES THAT WOMEN
MIGHT BE SAVED
TO THE YOUNG AND THE OLD
THE RICH AND THE POOR
THE IGNORANT AND THE LEARNED
WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES NOBLY
TO SAVE WOMEN AND CHILDREN
Titanic Memorial Park
Titanic Memorial Park was designed by Hideo Sasaki, Don Olson and Philip Minervino from Sasaki Walker and Associates between 1968 and 1972. Originally called Washington Channel Park, its mid-century modern design reflects the adjacent residences that were built in the 1960's in a large urban renewal project. The park design is one of the earliest examples of an urban river promenade.
The National Park Service completed a Cultural Landscapes Inventory of the Park in 2021, detailing the historical and cultural significance of the Park.