The Lincoln Memorial
The Memorial to Lincoln
Although Congress incorporated the Lincoln Monument Association in March
1867 to build a memorial to the slain President, no progress was made until
1901 when the McMillan Commission chose West Potomac Park as the site for
the memorial. This decision expanded on the ideas of Pierre L'Enfant who
designed an open mail area from the Capitol to the Potomac River. Congress
agreed on a design for the memorial submitted by New York architect Henry
Bacon and construction began on February 12, 1914. Daniel Chester French
designed the statue and the Piccirilli Brothers of New York carved it.
It is 19 feet tall and 19 feet wide and is made of 28 separate blocks of
the white Georgia marble. Murals, painted by Jules Guerin depicting principles
evident in Lincoln's life, are located on the north and south walls of
the memorial above inscriptions of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and his
Second Inaugural. Ernest Bairstow carved other sculptured features of the
memorial with the assistance of Evelyn Beatrice Longman, French's 19 year-old
apprentice. The building is constructed primarily of Colorado Yule marble
and Indiana limestone. The 36 columns around the memorial represent the
states in the union at the time of Lincoln's death; their names are carved
in the frieze directly above. The names of the 48 states in the Union when
the memorial plaque in the plaza commemorates the subsequent admission
of Alaska and Hawaii. President Warren G. Harding dedicated the memorial
on May 30, 1922. The principal address at the dedication was given by Dr.
Robert Moton, president of Tuskegee Institute, and Robert Todd Lincoln,
the President's only surviving son, was in attendance.
Visiting the Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial is staffed from 8 a.m. to midnight every day except
December 25 by park rangers who are available to answer questions and give
talks on Abraham Lincoln and the memorial. The Lincoln Memorial is part
of the National Park System, one of more than 370 parks representing our
nation's natural and cultural heritage. Address inquiries to: Superintendent,
National Capital Parks-Central, 900 Ohio Drive SW, Washington, DC 20024-2000.
Text reprinted from National Park Service Brochure, Government Printing
Learn more about the Lincoln Memorial from the National Park Service
web site at http://www.nps.gov/linc/index2.htm.
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