- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 29, 2005

The “boss” is back at home, in front of the building that serves as the District’s City Hall.

A bronze statue of Alexander “Boss” Robey Shepherd, weighing more than 13,000 pounds, was placed yesterday in front of the John A. Wilson Building on Pennsylvania Avenue after an absence of more than 25 years. Cranes and a truck were used to move the statue.

It was removed in 1979 during the construction of Freedom Plaza.

Shepherd ran the Territory of Columbia from 1871 to 1874. He is credited with turning the swampy, dirty town into a modern city — complete with sewers, water and gas mains, sidewalks, roads, parks, streetlights and 60,000 trees. He has been called a civil rights advocate but also was accused of corruption and cronyism.

The statue shows Shepherd holding plans of the city in one hand.

“He was moved down to Blue Plains [the sewage treatment plant], where he was kind of ignobly dropped on his side,” said Dan Tangherlini, Department of Transportation director.

City officials eventually uprighted him outside a government building overlooking an impound lot in Southwest, and there he stood for more than a decade.

Mr. Tangherlini said the mayor and some council members made the move happen yesterday after years of lobbying by the civic group that helped erect the statue in 1909.

“He’s the only native Washingtonian that has a statue anywhere in the city,” said Nelson Rimensnyder of the Association of the Oldest Inhabitants of the District of Columbia. “It’s very important to have the history of the city apart from federal Washington on display on Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Mr. Rimensnyder said construction crews donated their time and equipment for the move.

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