Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

"Infobox_nrhp | name =Lincoln Memorial
nrhp_type = nmem

caption =
location= Washington, D.C.
lat_degrees = 38
lat_minutes = 53
lat_seconds = 21.48
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 77
long_minutes = 3
long_seconds = 0.44
long_direction = W
locmapin = District of Columbia
area =
built =1922
architect= Multiple
architecture= Greek Revival
visitation_num = 3,638,806
visitation_year = 2005
area = 107.43 acres (0.43 km²)
added = October 15, 1966
governing_body = National Park Service
refnum=66000030cite web|url=|title=National Register Information System|date=2007-01-23|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]

The Lincoln Memorial is a United States Presidential memorial built to honor the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It is located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The architect was Henry Bacon, the sculptor was Daniel Chester French, and the painter of the interior murals was Jules Guerin.

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.

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 1901, in an area that was then 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 on May 30, 1922, 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 Georgian marble, quarried at the town of 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 seen to represent the 25 U.S. states at the time of Lincoln's death, as well as the 11 seceded States, and their names were inscribed in the entablature above each column. The names of the 48 states of the Union when the memorial was completed are carved on the exterior attic walls, and a later plaque commemorates the admission of Alaska and Hawaii in 1959.


The main influence on the style of the Lincoln Memorial was the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, Greece. 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 convert|19|ft|m|0 wide, and was carved from 28 blocks of white Georgia marble.

The central cella is flanked by two others. In one, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is inscribed on the south wall, and in the other, Lincoln's second inaugural address is inscribed on the north wall. On the latter, the word Future was carved with an E instead of F and had to be filled in. It can still be seen today. Above the texts are a series of 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 Abraham's head is this dedication:






culptural features

There are a couple of purported sculptural features associated with the memorial.

Some have claimed that Robert E. Lee's face is carved onto the back of Lincoln's statue, 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. [ National Park Service - Lincoln Memorial - Frequently Asked Questions] ] 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, since 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. [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)] Further confirming that Lincoln's hands may actually contain hidden sign language signs, 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. [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 ] []

Depictions on U.S. currency

The Lincoln Memorial is shown on the reverse of the United States one cent coin, which bears Lincoln's portrait on the front.

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

ee also

*Emancipation Memorial
*Lincoln Memorial Tower, London


External links

* [ "Chesterwood: The Workshop of an American Sculptor," a National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) lesson plan]

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