Washington, DC, is home to more history than most cities in America. As one of the earliest areas settled in North America and being home to more museums than you can count, Washington, DC, is as historic as it gets! Since Washington, DC, is the capital of the country, it is home to many national monuments. If you’re planning a trip to this great city, here are the top National Monuments in Washington, DC, that you really shouldn’t miss.
The Lincoln Memorial is one of the most recognizable national monuments in Washington, DC. It was built in honor of President Lincoln’s efforts to preserve the nation during the Civil War and his desire to end slavery. First opened in 1922, this neoclassical memorial shows the 16th president sitting on a large stone seat with a calm, yet brooding, expression. It was designed by Henry Bacon using inspiration from ancient Greek temples. The exterior structure stands 190 feet long, 119 feet wide, and almost 100 feet high while the statue of Lincoln is 19 feet high and weighs 175 tons. Around the exterior of the monument are 36 Doric columns, one for each state in the Union at the time of President Lincoln’s death.
Erected in 1848, the Washington Monument was once the tallest structure in the US. While the monument no longer holds the title of the tallest structure in the US, it is still both the world’s tallest predominantly stone structure and the world’s tallest obelisk. It stands an impressive 555 feet tall with a hollow Egyptian-styled center. The Washington Monument was built in honor of George Washington, the first president of the United States and the proclaimed father of the country. It was dedicated on February 21, 1885, and officially opened to the public on October 9, 1888. The obelisk alone weights 81,120 tons. When including the foundation, the entire structure weights an estimated 100,000 tons.
DC War Memorial
The District of Columbia War Memorial, commonly referred to as the DC War Memorial, commemorates the residents of Washington, DC, who died in World War I. Located on the National Mall, this domed, peristyle Doric temple was started and completed in 1931. Inside the cornerstone of the memorial is a list of 26,000 Washingtonians who served in WWI while the base has the inscription of 499 District of Columbia citizens who lost their lives in the war.
World War Two Memorial
The World War Two Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC, by President George W. Bush on May 29, 2004. Construction started on this memorial in 2001, but had to be postponed due to the attacks on September 11th of that year. The memorial consists of 56 pillars and a pair of small triumphal arches surrounding a square and fountain. These pillars represent each of the 48 US states as they were in 1945 along with the 8 US territories that were held in 1945. The arches represent the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world. He is known for his famous “I Have a Dream” speech calling for racial equality and for being the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. This memorial was designed from a line in his speech, which reads: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” The partially carved figure of Dr. King is named the Stone of Hope and stands in front of two pieces of granite that symbolize the “mountain of despair.” The layout of the memorial takes visitors through the Mountain of Despair on the way to the Stone of Hope, symbolically “moving through the struggle as Dr. King did during his life.” The memorial is designed to remind us how far we’ve come, and that our work isn’t quite done yet.
The Jefferson Memorial was built in honor of Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and the founder of the Democratic-Republican Party. The outside structure was completed in 1943 with the bronze statue of President Jefferson being added in 1947. The memorial was modeled after the Roman Pantheon and is composed of circular marble steps, a portico, a circular colonnade, Ionic order columns, and a shallow dome. The interior of the monument contains the statue of President Jefferson along with excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, letters written by President Jefferson, books written by President Jefferson, and a quote from his biography.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
This memorial is one of two dedicated to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Washington, DC. The monument is spaced over 7.5 acres and includes several sculptures depicting President Roosevelt during his four terms in office. The main sculptures are four “rooms.” Each of the four “rooms” representing Roosevelt’s respective terms in office contains a waterfall. As one moves from room to room, the waterfalls become larger and more complex, reflecting the increasing complexity of a presidency marked by the vast upheavals of economic depression and world war.
Washington, DC, has so much to offer, much more than can be seen in one visit. The cultural importance of this city makes it a great place for history buffs. Those who want to delve deep into the rich history of this region and explore all the national monuments at their leisure should look at Washington, DC houses for sale to get the chance to live in their own piece of living history.