Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial

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The circular, colonnaded structure of the Memorial is an adaptation of Jefferson’s favored Pantheon in Rome. Jefferson used this style in his home at Monticello, as well as in his design of the University of Virginia, and architect John Russell Pope thought it to be the only fitting design for a memorial in Jefferson’s honor. The 19-foot bronze statue in the center of the Memorial looks out across the Tidal Basin at the White House. On the walls surrounding the statue are five inscriptions taken from Jefferson’s various writings, illustrating the principles with which he dedicated his life. The excerpts are taken from such documents as the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson’s Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, Notes on the State of Virginia, as well as letters to James Madison, George Wythe, and George Washington.

Interesting Facts:

  • In order to see the 19-foot statue of Jefferson from the White House, President Roosevelt had several trees cleared from the front of both buildings.
  • To protest the removal of many cherished cherry trees during the construction of the memorial, protestors tied themselves to the cherry trees to disrupt the builders.
  • For the official dedication, a plaster statue was installed in the memorial due to a metal shortage during World War II. It wasn’t until four years later that the final bronze statue was completed and installed.
  • Enclosed in the memorial’s cornerstone is a copy of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the U.S., a copy of each of the four major Washington newspapers of the day, and other documents inspired or written by Jefferson.

Links:

Thomas Jefferson Memorial – National Park Service

Jefferson Memorial

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