“In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever”. These are the words visitor will find above the statue of the Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Great Emancipator has been memorialized in marble as an enduring symbol of freedom, inspiring hope among the many people who continue to visit the shrine today.
The Lincoln Memorial is located across from the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. The building itself is in the style of a Greek Doric temple and features a large seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln. The building was designed by Henry Bacon while the statue of Lincoln was created by Daniel Chester French. The memorial was dedicated in 1922 and presented to President Warren G. Harding, who accepted it on behalf of the American people. Lincoln’s son, 79-year-old Robert Todd, attended the dedication ceremony.
On top of the memorial are the names of the 36 states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death. Above them are the names of the 48 states that were present at the time of the dedication of the memorial. Inside the memorial are chambers that contain carved inscriptions of Lincoln’s second inaugural address and his Gettysburg Address.
Between the north and south chambers is the 19 foot tall statue of Lincoln, sitting in contemplation. The carving of the sculpture took four years to complete.
The memorial has become a significant location for the Civil Rights Movement. In 1963, the grounds were the site of the march on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a high point of the movement. It was at this event that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech in front of more than 250,000 spectators. The speech has become such an integral part of the story of the memorial that the spot on which King stood to deliver it has been engraved to commemorate the event. It is easy for visitors to the memorial to miss unless they walk up the very center of the steps.
Today more than 6 million people visit the memorial every year. The memorial is open to the public 24 hours a day and is free to visit.
The Lincoln Memorial is located at the western end of the National mall. The nearest metro stations are Foggy Bottom at 23rd ST. and I St. NW, and Smithsonian at 12th St. and Independence Ave SW. The memorial is open every day except Christmas. Parking around the area is generally restricted from 12am to 6am for cleaning and maintenance. It is highly recommended that you make use of public transportation to visit the memorial. Private paid parking garages and lots can be found downtown north of the National Mall. Free street parking is generally restricted to two hours. Limited free day parking is available on Ohio Drive SW along the Potomac River south of the Lincoln Memorial or in Lots A, B, & C south of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.