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The Lincoln Memorial

By John T. Marck

The Lincoln Memorial is located at the West end of the National Mall, in West Potomac Park, in line with the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument, bordered by Constitution and Independence Avenues, and the Reflecting Pool.

The Lincoln Memorial stands as a neoclassical monument to the 16th President. It was designed by Henry bacon, after Greek temples, and stands 190 feet long, 119 feet wide and almost 100 feet high. It is surrounded by 38 fluted Doric columns, one for each of the 36 states in the Union at the time, and two columns in-antis at the entrance behind the colonnade.

Inside the Monument on the North and South sides are carved inscriptions of Lincolnís Second Inaugural Address, and his Gettysburg Address. Located between the north and south chambers in the middle is the central hall that contains the solitary figure of Abraham Lincoln sitting in contemplation.

This statue of Lincoln took four years to carve, and was accomplished by the Piccirilli brothers under the supervision of sculptor, Daniel Chester French. The statue is 19 feet high and weights 175 tons.

Originally the plan was to have a statue that was ten feet, but this was changed at 19 so that it would not be dwarfed by the overall size of the chamber.

Upon Lincolnís sudden death in 1865, a commission was organized in 1867 whose plan it was to commission a monument. The original design consisted of six equestrian and 31 pedestrian statues of colossal size, with a 12-foot statue of Lincoln in the center. Because of a lack of needed funds, this project was never started.

Congress approved the existing structure in 1910, and construction began in 1914, and completed and opened to the public in 1922.

Each year the Memorial is visited by millions of people, and from someone who has been here numerous times, it is a wonderful place to see. It is also the site for many large public gatherings as well as protests in the past. Among the people and events held here was Martin Luther King, Jr. when he gave his famous "I Have A Dream" speech in 1963.

Damaged over the years by heavy visitation and environmental factors, the Lincoln Memorial has undergone a major restoration.

Copyright 1993-2022 by John T. Marck. Information in part compliments of the National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places. Some passages taken directly from the National Park Service. Photographs by John T. Marck. Copyright 2007 - All Rights Reserved. Do Not Duplicate.