Monday, August 22, 2011

What is this?

On my summer travels, we stopped in DC for a day of sightseeing, and my most junior Ravyn noticed this peculiarity adorning a bridge crossing the tidal basin near the Jefferson Monument. Blow the picture above up nice and big, so you can take a good look at it. Anyone know what this could possibly be?

You, know aside from the obvious: a maniacally grinning fish guy with a contemporary haircut and a mass of cthuloid tentacles suspended over some sort of clamshell bowl.

Does this strike anyone else as weird?

Are we meant to put something in the bowl? Or take something out of the bowl?

Obviously, DC has a reputation of being filled with obscure symbolism, much of it masonic or pagan in nature, but this one seems more sinister and over-the-top than usual somehow.

A quick search online didn't result in any revelations, other than a 1974 incident when House and Ways committee chairman Wilbur Mills was cornered by police nearby having a bit of fun with notorious stripper Fanne Foxe, whereupon he jumped into the tidal basin in a futile attempt to escape, but I don't think this is related.

If you'd like to see this on Google Maps, just enter the coordinates 38.880185, -77.040174 and zoom up to street view, looking toward the Washington Monument.

Here's a little description of the bridge, but nothing about the statues save to call them "ornamental gargoyles".


  1. Popular belief is that it's Manus "Jack" Fish, former National Park Service regional director who oversaw the National Mall.

    "...So long did he hold the politically sensitive "fish-bowl" job that he, too, is memorialized. If you're at the Tidal Basin next month when the cherry blossoms bloom, take a look at the Ohio Drive bridge. You'll find some gargoyles sculpted into the stone. The fish creature is a caricature of the Park Service's Mr. Fish."
    Source :

  2. Awesome "catch" Houndin! I knew there had to be some kind of story behind this.

  3. I have just installed iStripper, so I can have the sexiest virtual strippers on my desktop.



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