Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C was built to honor Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the US. It was designed by Henry Bacon in the model of Parthenon in Athens. Bacon decided that the monument should be inspired by the Parthenon, as he felt that a structure from the birthplace of democracy is the ideal for being the inspiration for the monument for a man who defended democracy.
The attempts to give a fitting tribute to Abraham Lincoln began soon after he was assassinated in 1865. Within two years after his death, Congress officially formed a Lincoln Monument Association and began the search for eligible craftsmen to begin the project. However, disagreements and disputes about the construction delayed the project until 1914. Major architectural elements of the monument were completed in 1917, but the monument could not be opened until 1922 because the further construction was delayed by World War I.
The memorial has 36 columns made of Colorado marble, each representing a state in the Union. At the time of Lincoln’s death, there were only 36 states in the Union. The height of each column is 13.4 meters.
The names of 48 contiguous states are listed above the Colonnade, with their dates of admission to the Union engraved in Roman numerals. At the time of the memorial’s construction, Alaska and Hawaii had not attained statehood. Thus their names are inscribed on a plaque kept on the front steps.
Nearly 40 percent of the memorial is situated below the ground. The foundation of the monument extends 66 feet into the earth to support the whole structure.
At the interiors of the monument is the 19 foot seated statue of Abraham Lincoln made of Georgia white marble. The statue rests on a pedestal made of Tennessee marble. It was designed by Daniel Chester and carved by Piccirilli brothers, a family of Tuscan marble carvers. The Italian influence evident on the statue’s carving is attributed to the nationality of Piccirilli brothers. The bundles of wood that act as pillars upon which Lincoln rests his hands and face has been the symbol of power for centuries.
The Lincoln memorial that stood as a prominent symbol of the American Civil Rights Movement attracts thousands of visitors every year. It is a must-visit destination in your Washington D.C tours.