I know that sites like Roadside America tend to mention the downtown area of the original historic section of Greenbelt, Maryland as a less-known attraction (mainly because most out-of-state visitors tend to prefer going to Baltimore, Annapolis, and Washington, DC). As a local I tend to pass by the downtown area frequently so I’m used to seeing the statues and reliefs to the point of complacency. But I realized that I should still take the time to pause and reflect on the fact that these statues and reliefs exist and I should appreciate their existence.

I want to start off with this chair-like sculpture that’s not listed on Roadside America’s site but it’s located near enough to the others that it warrants a mention in this blog.


This sculpture, located outside the front doors of the Greenbelt Library, is dedicated to Al Herling, who was a longtime Greenbelt resident and a staunch supporter of the arts. I met Al when my then-husband and I first began to attend the local Unitarian Universalist congregation. He was not only an active advocate for the arts in Greenbelt but he was also very active in the arts at our congregation. I remember he was an excellent piano player (he used to occasionally play during Sunday service) and he was very active in the choir. I only knew him for a couple of years because he was already quite elderly and he died about four or five years after my then-husband and I joined the congregation.


The Greenbelt Library is located next door to the Greenbelt Community Center. It was originally opened as an elementary school when the town was founded in the 1930’s but it was converted to a community center when a newer, more modern elementary school was built a mile away. This building is noted on the Roadside America site for these reliefs that were created during the Great Depression by a sculptor named Lenore Thomas.


The Roadside America site mentions that the building and reliefs look really impressive when lit up at night and I have to agree with that one.


As for the reliefs, they are all based on the preamble to the United States Constitution, with each phrase from the preamble etched into stone at the bottom of each relief. Here is what each relief looks like in the day and at night.











Located near the reliefs is this sculpture that was also done by Lenore Thomas and was donated to the City of Greenbelt by her daughter back in 2000.


Located just a few feet away from the Greenbelt Community Center is Roosevelt Center, which is a small commercial district that currently consists of four food establishments, one convenience store, a beauty salon, a massage spa, and the Co-Op Grocery Store. Located in the center of Roosevelt Center is the Mother and Child statue that was also sculpted by Lenore Thomas.


Last month the Mother and Child statue was the scene of a tragedy when a man committed suicide just a few feet away. I wrote about this last month and noted how the base of the statue had turned into a makeshift memorial. The memorial has gotten smaller since that time but people still leave little tributes like these flowers at the base.