Everybody laughed when I used a plastic hippopotamus to represent George Washington as he crossed the Delaware River, last week, but a little internet search reveals that there may be an actual connection between Mount Vernon and hippopotamuses. To honor the Class of 2000 at George Washington University, the president of the university installed a statue of a hippo on campus with the text below written on its plaque. What do you think of this legend? Is it real or not? How do you know?
Legend has it that the Potomac was once home to these wondrous beasts.
George & Martha Washington are even said to have watched them cavort in
the river shallows from the porch of their beloved Mount Vernon on summer evenings.
Credited with enhancing the fertility of the plantation, the Washingtons believed
the hippopatamus brought them good luck & children on the estate often attempted
to lure the creatures close enough to the shore to touch a nose for good luck.
So, too, may generations of students of the George Washington University.
Art for wisdom,
Science for joy,
Politics for beauty,
And a Hippo for hope.
The George Washington University Class of 2000
August 28, 1996