A brief history of D.C. landmark vandalism

D.C. police have made an arrest in connection with today's news that the Washington National Cathedral and the Joseph Henry statue near the Smithsonian Castle were, like the Lincoln Memorial last week, splashed with green paint. It is unclear whether the same individual is suspected of defacing all of the sites, or just the cathedral.

While we await further details of the arrest, here's a brief history of people being jerks and ruining stuff for everyone. This is why we can't have nice things, folks.


Green paint is seen on the pedestal of the statue of Joseph Henry, outside the headquarters of the Smithsonian Institution on the National Mall in Washington, Monday, July 29, 2013. U.S. Park police say the marring of the Smithsonian's first secretary was discovered on July 26, the same day that the Lincoln Memorial was splattered with green paint. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial: Maya Lin's groundbreaking design has been vandalized several times, most recently in 2007 when an oily substance was splashed throughout the site. The case was never resolved. Vandals had previously scratched marks, including swastikas, into the memorial.


September 11, 2007: Security cones and a bucket with small brush still sat at the Vietnam Memorial after supposed vandalism of an oily substance being splashed on it. (Susan Biddle / TWP )

The National Gallery: The museum suffered two separate incidents of vandalism in 2011 from the same woman, Susan Burns -- one directed at the Gauguin painting "Two Tahitian Women," and the other at the Henri Matisse painting "The Plumed Hat." Burns spent time at St. Elizabeths Hospital following the attacks.


Merl Ross, a fan of painter Paul Gauguin looks at an empty display with temporarily removed note on the wall of his "Two Tahitian Women" painting that was attacked at the National Gallery of Art of in Washington, DC on April 4 , 2011. The 1899 painting shows no visible damage but went under the microscope to see if it has any structural damage. (Photo by Linda Davidson/ The Washington Post)

The Scottish Rite Masonic Temple: One of the sphinxes outside the headquarters of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction -- also featured in the Dan Brown book "The Lost Symbol" -- got a coating of pink paint in a vandalism incident last August.

MARVIN JOSEPH/TWP--CAPTION-Celebration of the Ninetieth Anniversary of the unveiling and dedication of the National Columbus Monument at UnionStation. PICTURED, Sometime after midnight the Christopher Columbus statue was defaced in red paint.
This October 2002 photo shows the 90th anniversary of the unveiling and dedication of the National Columbus Monument at Union Station, for which the Christopher Columbus statue was defaced in red paint. (Marvin Joseph, for The Post)

Union Station: The Christopher Columbus statue outside of the station was splashed with red paint in 1991. In 2002, it was vandalized again with the phrases "510 Years Oppression" and "510 Years Resistance," again in red.

Meridian Hill Park: The "Serenity" statue, already in disrepair, suffered an attack in April, when vandals painted the sculpture's face black, with a Joker-like red grin.

PandaMania: After the unveiling of the public art project that placed 150 artist-designed pandas around the city, at least seven of them were vandalized with theft or graffiti. "I thought everyone would love my bear. I thought they were so totally cool that people would really love them and not hurt any of them," said Lynda Barry-Andrews, who said she worked 16-hour days for two months to create Freedom, one of the bears. Most were repaired and remained on display for the duration of the 2004 exhibition.


Freedom Panda was badly damaged two days after being displayed at 901 F. Street, N.W. Now she is at the Waterside Mall in Southwest awaiting repairs. "I am very disappointed, " says artist Lynda Andrews-Barry. A vandal defaced and removed the headdress from the top of Freedom Panda. MARVIN JOSEPH/TWP
Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.
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Tim Carman | July 29, 2013