Celebrating 100 Years: The Lincoln Memorial

You have seen it in your pocket change for years. For nearly 50 years it was a focal point of one of the most produced United States coins ever. While the anniversary of the coin itself is not approaching, the historic monument depicted on the reverse of the Lincoln Cent from 1959-2008 is indeed celebrating 100 years. On May 30th, 2022, which also happens to be Memorial Day, the Lincoln Memorial will be celebrating its centennial anniversary.

During the month of May, the National Park Service, in addition to a number of partners and sponsors, have been and will continue to hold commemorative events and activities in honor of the Lincoln Memorial itself and the legacy of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. In person and virtual activities will occur at the memorial and other sites around the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.

Lincoln Memorial Building

Modeled after the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, the Lincoln Memorial was designed by architect Henry Bacon as he felt “that a memorial dedicated to a man who defended democracy should echo the birthplace of democracy.” Made from Colorado Yule marble, the memorial measures 190 feet long, 120 feet wide, and 99 feet tall. The steps begin at the edge of the Reflecting Pool and trail upward toward the former roadbed of the circular roadway that surrounded the memorial but is now a plaza. They continue up towards the memorial entrance. Surrounding the memorial are 36 Doric (relating to ancient Greek) columns that represent the 36 states that were in the Union at the time of President Lincoln’s death. They are 44 feet tall and consist of 12 individual drums. Inscribed on the frieze are the names of the 36 states and the dates they entered the Union.

The interior of the Lincoln Memorial is split into three chambers: north, south, and central. The north and south side chambers feature Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and the Gettysburg Address inscribed. Above the inscriptions is a 60 foot by 12 foot mural depicting the governing principles that found themselves to be unmistakable in Lincoln’s life.The statue itself is located between the north and south chambers in the central hall. Carved by the Piccirilli brothers, it took four years to complete.

The landscape located around the memorial features a Reflecting Pool that has become recognizable over the years as it has been one of the most filmed sites in Washington, D.C.. Not officially dedicated in 1922 along with the memorial, it has a long path of elm trees on either side of the popular feature.

Celebrating 100 Years

Taking place on Memorial Day weekend, the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial saw an estimated 50,000 people at the ceremony while close to two million people listened across the country. President Warren G. Harding, former president of the United States and Chief Justice Howard Taft (he also served as chairman of the Lincoln Memorial Commission), and Dr. Robert Russa Moton, who was the principal of the Tuskegee Institute, were speakers at the ceremony.

100 years later, the Lincoln Memorial has become a symbol of the United States and one of the most recognized buildings in the world. It has also become the nation’s stage for rallies and demonstrations in the fight for civil rights in addition to being a backdrop for national celebrations.

Source: www.nps.gov