Gumbo was visiting historic and beautiful Georgetown University. Congratulations to PortMoresby who was the only one who solved this week's travel puzzle!
Constructed in neo-Medieval style between 1877-1879 by Pelz and Smithmeyer architects, who also built the Library of Congress, Healy Hall was added to the Washington DC Inventory of Historic Sites in 1964. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 25, 1971, and as a National Historic Landmark on December 23, 1987. The building gained prominence in 1973 when it was a backdrop for the original Exorcist movie (I went to the premier back then). I walked the famous Exorcist steps and snapped a photo.
A statue of John Carroll (1735-1815), known as the founder of Georgetown University (the oldest Catholic university in the United States), fronts Healy Hall. Carroll was the first bishop and archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. A grand statue unveiling ceremony was planned for May 4, 1912.
Chief Justice Edward Douglass White was to make the presentation speech; however, after invitations had been sent out, the foundry notified the university that the statue would not be ready in time. Not wanting to postpone the ceremony, Georgetown officials ordered a plaster cast of the statue, which was painted brown and duly unveiled in front of thousands. In 1940, Brother James Harrington, who was in charge of workmen on the campus in 1912, recalled that: "Weeks later, in the dead of night, today's bronze statue was substituted for the spurious one and no one was the wiser."
The cannons were given to Georgetown University in 1888 and placed in front of Healy Hall in 1898. These cannons came to the U.S. on the two ships, the Ark and the Dove, which brought the original settlers, including three Jesuits, to Maryland in 1634. According to Navy Department experts, they are Spanish-made, shot a nine pound cannon ball, and may have been salvaged from the Spanish Armada which was defeated on England's shores in 1588.
The hands of the Healy Clock Tower have been subjected to many thefts, as per the university tradition. Historically, students would steal the hands and mail them to the person they wished to visit the campus, most notably sent to the Vatican, where they were blessed by Pope John Paul II and then returned to the university. The hands were stolen once again in 2012, and supposedly sent to Barack Obama but the hands ended up lost in the mail.
Riggs Library was the main library of Georgetown University from 1891-1970 and is housed in the south tower of Healy Hall and is one of the few extant cast iron libraries in the nation. The library still serves its original function of storing books despite its primary use as a formal event space.
The stained glass window that portrays the seal of John Carroll, founder of Georgetown is in the north hall. The seal's motto, taken from Psalms 37:22, is translated as: 'Lord, Our God do not abandon us.'
The Philodemic Society is a student debating organization and literary society at Georgetown University. It was founded in 1830 by Father James Ryder, S.J., in whose honor an award is given every Spring at the Merrick Debate. The Philodemic is among the oldest such societies in the United States and the society's motto, "Eloquentiam Libertati Devinctam" reminds its members that they are pursuing Eloquence in Defense of Liberty.