August 10, 2017

Democratic Donkey

In the courtyard of the Old City Hall is a statue of a Donkey and a pair of elephant footprints.

Boston Donkey3a

Interesting things that I learned about the Democratic Donkey

  • Placed in 1998.
  • Created by Antonio Frilli
  • Statue was purchased by Roger Webb while vacationing in Florence, Italy.
  • Roger Webb is the founder of the Architectural Heritage Foundation in Boston and help launch Preservation Massachusetts, a statewide nonprofit historic preservation organization.
  • Roger wanted the statue so that children had a place to play as they walked the Freedom Trail.
  • The City of Boston declined the initial request to install the statue along the Freedom Trail as they felt it wasn't appropriate to install an Italian Donkey.
  • Rodger was able to convince the City when he explained that the Donkey was the symbol of the Democratic Party since the 1840s. The twenty mayors of Old City Hall used the mascot and the Bronze Donkey would be a symbol of that time.
  • The Donkey is looking down at a pair of elephant footprints cast in bronze. (The Republican symbol is in the footprints.)
  • There is a message before the footprint which reads, "Stand in Opposition."
  • The bronze footprints were installed at the request of the Republican Party.
  • The footprints were installed in 2001.

Democratic Donkey and the Republican Elephant

They were the inventions of Thomas Nast, an illustrator who became America's preeminent political cartoonist. Nast's donkey first appeared as a Democratic party symbol in Harper's Weekly on Jan. 15, 1870. The elephant turned up in Harper's four years later.

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