Lincoln Memorial: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lincoln Memorial
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. National Memorial
Lincoln Memorial is located in District of Columbia
Location: Washington, D.C.
Coordinates: 38°53′21.48″N 77°3′0.44″W / 38.8893°N 77.0501222°W / 38.8893; -77.0501222Coordinates: 38°53′21.48″N 77°3′0.44″W / 38.8893°N 77.0501222°W / 38.8893; -77.0501222
Area: 107.43 acres (0.43 km²)
Built/Founded: 1922
Architect: Henry Becon (architect)
Daniel Chester French (sculptor)
Architectural style(s): Greek Revival
Visitation: 3,639,000 (2005)
Governing body: National Park Service
Added to NRHP: October 15, 1966
NRHP Reference#: 66000030[1]

The Lincoln Memorial is an American memorial built to honor the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It is located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and was dedicated on May 30, 1922. The architect was Henry Bacon, the sculptor of the main statue (Abraham Lincoln, 1920) was Daniel Chester French, and the painter of the interior murals was Jules Guerin. It is one of several monuments built to honor an American president.

The building is in the form of a Greek Doric temple and contains a large seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln and inscriptions of two well-known speeches by Lincoln. The memorial has been the site of many famous speeches, including Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered on August 28, 1963 during the rally at the end of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Like other monuments on the National Mall – including the nearby Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and National World War II Memorial – the memorial is administered by the National Park Service under its National Mall and Memorial Parks group. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since October 15, 1966. It is open to the public 24 hours a day. In 2007, it was ranked seventh on the List of America's Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.


Design and construction

Aerial view of the Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Monument Association was incorporated by the United States Congress in March 1867 to build a memorial to Lincoln. A site was not chosen until 1902, in an area that was at that time a swampland. Congress formally authorized the memorial on February 9, 1911, and the first stone was put into place on Lincoln's birthday, February 12, 1914. The monument was dedicated by former President and Chief Justice William Howard Taft, a ceremony attended by Lincoln's only surviving child, Robert Todd Lincoln. The stone for the building is Indiana limestone and Yule marble, quarried at the town of Marble, Colorado. The Lincoln sculpture within is made of Murphy Marble, quarried near Tate, Georgia. In 1923, designer Henry Bacon received the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects, his profession's highest honor, for the design of the memorial. Originally under the care of the Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks, it was transferred to the National Park Service on August 10, 1933.

Standing apart from the somewhat triumphal and Roman manner of most of Washington, the memorial takes the severe form of a Greek Doric temple. It is "peripteral," with 36 massive columns, each 37 feet (10 m) high, surrounding the cella of the building itself, which rises above the porticos. As an afterthought, the 36 columns required for the design were interpreted as representing the 25 U.S. states at the time of Lincoln's death, as well as the 11 seceded Confederate states, and their names were inscribed in the entablature above each column in the order that each state had joined the Union (along with the year of their joining in Roman numerals). The names of the remaining 22 states that had joined the Union when the memorial was completed are carved on the exterior attic walls in the same manner. A plaque in front of the monument commemorates the admission of Alaska and Hawaii in 1959.

View from the Lincoln Memorial toward the Washington Monument
The memorial and the reflecting pool
Abraham Lincoln (1920), French's sculpture inside the Lincoln Memorial
The words of the Gettysburg Address carved into the south wall of the interior

The Lincoln Memorial departed from its general model, the Temple of Zeus in Olympia, in its wide proportions, the entrance being centered on a long side, and in having a flat roof to the cella. At its entrance two columns carry the entablature across the opening. The focus of the memorial is Daniel Chester French's sculpture of Lincoln, seated on a throne. French studied many of Mathew Brady's photographs of Lincoln and depicted the president as worn and pensive, gazing eastwards down the Reflecting Pool toward the capital's starkest emblem of the Union, the Washington Monument. Beneath his hands, the Roman fasces, symbols of the authority of the Republic, are sculpted in relief on the seat. The statue stands 19 feet 9 inches (6 m) tall and 19 feet (6 m) wide, and was carved from 28 blocks of white Georgia marble by the Piccirilli Brothers studio of Bronx, New York.

In two flanking spaces, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is inscribed on the south wall, and on the facing wall Lincoln's second inaugural address. Above the texts are canvas murals by Jules Guerin that depict an angel (representing truth), the freeing of a slave (on the south wall, above the Gettysburg Address) and the unity of the American North and South (above the Second Inaugural Address). On the wall behind the statue, and over Lincoln's head is this dedication, composed by Royal Cortissoz:[2]


Events at the memorial

In 1937, the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow the African-American contralto Marian Anderson to perform before an integrated audience at the organization's Constitution Hall. At the suggestion of Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harold L. Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior, arranged for a performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday of that year, to a live audience of 70,000, and a nationwide radio audience.

On August 28, 1963, the memorial grounds were the site of one of the greatest political rallies in history, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which proved to be a high point of the American Civil Rights Movement. It is estimated that approximately 250,000 people came to the event, where they heard Martin Luther King, Jr., deliver his memorable speech, "I Have a Dream," before the memorial honoring the president who had issued the Emancipation Proclamation 100 years earlier. The D.C. police also appreciated the location because it was surrounded on three sides by water, so that any incident could be easily contained.[3] On August 28, 1983, crowds gathered again to mark the 20th Anniversary Mobilization for Jobs, Peace and Freedom, to reflect on progress in gaining civil rights for African Americans and to commit to correcting continuing injustices. The "I Have a Dream" speech is such a part of the Lincoln Memorial story, that the spot on which King stood, on the landing eighteen steps below Lincoln's statue, was engraved in 2003 in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the event.

On May 9, 1970, President Richard Nixon had a middle-of-the-night impromptu, brief meeting with protesters preparing to march against the Vietnam War just days after the Kent State shootings. For President Bush's 2001 inauguration celebration, the Rockettes dance troupe kicked their legs in the air while marching down the monument's steps.[4][5]

Sculptural features, myths, and folklore

General Robert E. Lee's profile is purported to be hidden in Lincoln's hair.

Some have claimed, that Robert E. Lee's face was carved onto the back of Lincoln's statue,[6] looking back across the Potomac at Arlington House (Custis-Lee Mansion) in Arlington National Cemetery.

Another popular legend is that Lincoln is shown using sign language to represent his initials, with his left hand shaped to form an "A" and his right hand to form an "L". The National Park Service denies both stories, calling them urban legends.[6] However, historian Gerald Prokopowicz writes that, while it is not clear that sculptor Daniel Chester French intended Lincoln's hands to be formed into sign language versions of his initials, it is possible that French did intend it, because he was familiar with American Sign Language, and he would have had a reason to do so, i.e., to pay tribute to Lincoln for having signed the federal legislation giving Gallaudet University, a university for the deaf, the authority to grant college degrees.[7] The National Geographic Society's publication, "Pinpointing the Past in Washington, D.C." states that Daniel Chester French had a son who was deaf and the sculptor was familiar with sign language.[8][9] Historian James A. Percoco has observed that, although there are no extant documents showing that French carved Lincoln's hands to represent the letters "A" and "L" in American Sign Language, "I think you can conclude that it's reasonable to have that kind of summation about the hands."[10]

Also BSA Jamborees have been held at the memorial, in which the president has spoken to a large group of American Scout from all fifty states.


Today, over 3.6 million people visit the memorial annually, and many schools come on field trips to the memorial.

Depictions on U.S. currency

Reverse of a 2003 five-dollar note and 2006 Lincoln cent

From 1959 to 2008, the Lincoln Memorial was shown on the reverse of the United States one cent coin, which bears Lincoln's portrait bust on the front. The statue of Lincoln can be seen in the monument. This was done to mark the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's birth.

The memorial also appears on the back of the U.S. five dollar bill, the front of which bears Lincoln's portrait.

See also


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ Lincoln Memorial: Individuals
  3. ^ Jennings, Peter; Brewster, Todd. The Century. Doubleday, 1998
  4. ^ Hillel Italie, Associated Press (2009-02-08). "Lincoln Memorial a temple of respect, hope". Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  5. ^ "Seeking Lincoln; finding the Lincoln Memorial - | News, Sports, Jobs, Community info". Times Republican. 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  6. ^ a b National Park Service - Lincoln Memorial - Frequently Asked Questions
  7. ^ Did Lincoln Own Slaves? And Other Frequently Asked Questions About Abraham Lincoln. Written by Gerald J. Prokopowicz. ISBN 978-0-375-42541-7 (0-375-42541-1)
  8. ^ Evelyn, Douglas E. and Paul A. Dickson. On this Spot: Pinpointing the Past in Washington, D.C. (National Geographic Society, 1999). ISBN 0-7922-7499-7
  9. ^
  10. ^ Percoco, James A., speech given on April 17, 2008 in the Jefferson Room of the National Archives and Records Administration as part of the National Archive's "Noontime Programs" lecture series. Broadcast on the C-Span cable television network on April 4 and April 5, 2009.

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Monument inscriptions article)

From Wikiquote

Monument inscriptions are commonly placed on statues and structures built to commemorate some aspect of the person or event for which the monument stands.


Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Lincoln Memorial


Gate to Auschwitz


Translation: "Work makes you free"


Simple English

Lincoln Memorial
(National Memorial)
Location: Washington, D.C.
Coordinates: 38°53′22″N 77°3′1″W / 38.88944°N 77.05028°W / 38.88944; -77.05028Coordinates: 38°53′22″N 77°3′1″W / 38.88944°N 77.05028°W / 38.88944; -77.05028
Area: 107.43 acres (0.43 km²)
Built/Founded: 1912
Architect: Multiple
Architectural style(s): Greek Revival
Added to NRHP: October 15, 1966
Number of visitors: 3,638,806 (in 2005)
NRHP Reference#: 66000030


Governing body: National Park Service

The Lincoln Memorial was built to remember Abraham Lincoln, who was the 16th President of the United States and led the nation during the American Civil War. It is in the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and is a popular site for tourists.



The Lincoln Memorial was built to look like the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, Greece. It is surrounded by thirty six columns which are 37 feet (11 m) high. There is a large reflecting pool right outside the steps.


A sculpture of Lincoln sitting on a chair is inside the Memorial. The statue shows the President looking towards the reflecting pool and the Washington Monument. The statue is 19 feet 9 inches (6 m) tall and 19 feet (6 m) wide, and was carved from 28 blocks of white marble.

These words are written on the wall behind the sculpture:


This is a complicated sentence and was written long ago. It means that Abraham Lincoln will forever be remembered here, just like he will be remembered by the people of the United States, who he saved.

Lincoln's famous speech, the Gettysburg Address, is written into one of the walls at the Memorial. There are also several murals on the other walls. One of the murals shows an angel, and another one shows a slave being freed.

Famous Events

Due to Lincoln being associated with freeing the slaves, the Memorial has been a center for civil rights protests in the United States. In 1939, Marian Anderson sang there because she could not sing at Constitution Hall. The Memorial has been used many times for famous events. Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech was given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. President Richard Nixon once met with protesters of the Vietnam War, who were at the Memorial. A concert was given for President Barack Obama at the Memorial before he took office.

The Lincoln Memorial on U.S. currency

The Lincoln Memorial has been on the back of the United States penny (the one cent coin) for many years, as well as thefive dollar bill. Both have a picture of Lincoln on the front.


  1. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 


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