Good morning! As I mentioned yesterday I spent most of the week in Washington D.C and the majority of our time was spent on The National Mall.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with The Mall, it was conceived in 1791 by Pierre Charles L’Enfant as a “grand avenue” one mile in length and 400 feet wide, in the area between the Capitol and an equestrian statue of George Washington, which consequently is where the Washington Monument stands today.
Although this “grand avenue” was never built as L’Enfant envisioned, in 1902 Senator James McMillian, from Michigan and the McMillian Commission assembled the best architects, landscape architects and artists to create and redesign the Mall. They expanded L’Enfants’ vision and this is what you see today.
Over 24 million people visit the The National Mall annually. They come to see the ten world class museums that make up the Smithsonian Institution, the monuments to Lincoln, Washington, Martin Luther King Jr, the Vietnam Veterans and more, as well as the cherry blossoms that were given to the USA in 1912 by the Japanese.
The Lincoln Memorial is one of our favorite places to visit on the Mall. It was conceived in 1867 shortly after Lincoln was assassinated, began in 1914 and finished in 1922.
The style of the monument is a Greek Temple and there are 36 columns surrounding Lincoln, they represent the 36 States that were part of the Union in 1865, at the time of Lincolns death.
Martin Luther King made his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August of 1963 and you can stand in his footsteps and imagine what that must have been like to look over the sea of people.
The details and the significance of each part of this monument is surprising. Everything from the amount of columns, to the amount of stairs, to the words and carvings are significant and they represent an aspect of Lincoln’s presidency and life.
For instance, there are 87 steps from the reflecting pool to the top of the monument which is equal to “four score and seven years ago” from the Gettysburg Address. And there are 58 steps from the first level to the top of the memorial, two of the steps represent Lincoln’s terms in office and the other 56 his age when he was killed.
The monument sits 1.9 miles west of the Capitol and is depicted on both the penny and the five dollar bill.
I could go on and on but I do not want to bore you and I do not want to spoil your trip if you go to visit. I hope that if you have not visited the Mall or the Lincoln Memorial that you get the chance. The National Mall is free, you can wander in and out of the museums and the monuments and is really a special place to capture the magic and the history of our country.
I will warn you though that if you go over Easter week, the 4th of July, Memorial Day and during the Cherry Blossom festival it will be very crowded. In fact on my visit, it was the most crowded I have ever seen it.
Have you visited the National Mall? The Lincoln Memorial? What are your favorite things to visit?
I love hearing your impression and experiences while traveling, so please do share.
In the meantime, if you are unable to visit in person you can explore the Lincoln Memorial from the comfort of your own home, (click HERE) it is an interactive web page where you can learn the history ofthe memorial as well as the recollections and stories of the National Park Rangers.
Have a great day!