At the far end of the National Mall in Washington D.C with the Potomac River flowing behind it is the Lincoln Memorial. On 30 May it was 100 years since it was dedicated. It honours the 16th President of the United States who defended democracy and is styled after the Parthenon in Athens being the birthplace of democracy.
Each of the 36 States that existed during Lincoln’s Presidency is represented in the frieze above the 36 columns. Above that is the attic frieze that inscribes all the 48 States at the time of the dedication in 1922. The States of Alaska and Hawaii have a plaque on the Lincoln Memorial Plaza.
President Lincoln sits inside the memorial in his chair staring down on the reflecting pool and to the Capitol Building a 2 miles away at the other end of the National Mall.
The Lincoln statue is in fact constructed of 28 different pieces. It is 19 ft high and 19 ft wide. Lincoln’s head is 3ft 7in and 2ft wide. The pedestal is 10ft.
The interior walls of the monument are divided into three chambers – North, South and Central. Inscriptions carved into the walls include the Gettysburg Address and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.
There are 58 steps (56 being the age of the President when he died and 2 for the terms he served as President)
There are park rangers to answer any questions and to point out interesting subjects including a spelling mistake on the wall. Future was spelt Euture and attempts to fill in the extra line are still visible to keen eyes.
The Lincoln Memorial is a part of history and it has witnessed many historic moments one being the ‘I have a dream’ speech by Martin Luther King Junior in 1963.
The National Mall runs for 2 miles between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol Building. The Smithsonian museums flank either side. Memorials to Vietnam and Korea as well as the two World Wars are reminders to bleaker times. The White House is visible adjacent to the Washington Memorial that site about half along the Mall. If you are visiting and want to see everything it will probably take a couple of days.