Jefferson Memorial Washington, DC

The Jefferson Memorial stands adjacent to the US National Mall in the nation’s capital—directly south of the Washington Monument.

Overhead View Looking North
During the Great Depression, John Russell Pope designed the monument with a neo-classical cupola and other elements modeled another great monument—the Roman Pantheon. Pope, however, died before actual construction began, leaving architects Otto Eggers and Daniel Higgins to supervise building of the Jefferson Memorial. On November 15, 1939, the cornerstone of the monument was placed by President Roosevelt. By 1943, construction had been completed in time for 200th anniversary of the birth of America’s third president. Yet with a shortage of metal during World War II, a plaster sculpture with Jefferson’s likeness was placed inside the monument temporarily. After the war, a bronze statue of Jefferson by Rudolph Evans was added inside, facing inscriptions of some of his most important writings on the interior walls.
Overhead View Looking North

Initially, the monument provoked outcry since numerous lovely cherry trees were cut down to make way for the monument. Moreover, many feared the memorial to Thomas Jefferson might distract visitors from the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. With time, however, a greater appreciation has come for the many figures in American history that strove to make this country great and protect its ideals of liberty and equality.

As one of the most popular attractions in Washington, DC, the monument hosts many events, including the beloved annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Moreover, it has become a site for those—such as libertarians--honoring the principles of freedom and limited government for which Jefferson stood.

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson

Steps from the Jefferson Memorial lead down to the Tidal Basin, an artificial pool created by water flowing in from the Potomac River. On most warm afternoons, visitors can been seen renting paddle boats on the basin. Nearby are the moments to George Mason, Franklin Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr.