Thursday, May 28, 2015

10 fun facts about the Jefferson Memorial

The Jefferson Memorial is quite prominent on the National Mall, probably one of the most recognized landmarks. While well-known, it does stand a bit away from many of the other monuments and is situated along a very busy road. It's not the easiest of monuments to walk to, but there are a couple of good routes to get you there (the path along the Tidal Basin is a pleasant walk).

Cherry blossom reflections
Surprisingly, the monument is not as old as you might think. This memorial was commissioned by Congress in 1934. One unique aspect of this monument is that it's influenced by Thomas Jefferson's own tastes. According to the National Park Service (NPS), it "echoes" Jefferson's own designs, Monticello (his home in Charlottesville) and the University of Virginia Rotunda. Its style is Classical Revival and is based on the Pantheon in Rome.

View of the Jefferson Memorial from atop the Washington Monument

10 fun facts about the Jefferson Memorial

1. The Jefferson Memorial was built by John Russell Pope. Pope passed away in 1937 in the midst of the project. The monument was finished by Daniel P. Higgins and Otto R. Eggers with some modifications in its design, notes NPS. The memorial's cornerstone was laid in 1939.

2. The statue of Jefferson in the center of the memorial stands 19 feet tall and weighs 5 tons. It was designed by Rudolph Evans.

3. The original statue was made of plaster but was updated after the end of World War II. At that time, the statue was renovated to be bronze. 

4. The Jefferson Memorial was dedicated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on a very fitting April 13, 1943. On this day, Jefferson would have been 200 years old.

5. This monument stands on the southern end of the National Mall and is placed in a direct line of the White House.
6. The dome is 165 feet in diameter and there are 26 pillars.

7. There were a couple of controversies surrounding the building of this monument. One was the actual design being criticized which resulted in some modifications as noted in fact #1. The second was the removal of some of the iconic cherry blossom trees, which were gifted to the United States in 1912. 

Today there are still many cherry trees to be found all around the Tidal Basin, but at the time of build, the removal of some trees was a big controversy.

8. About 2 million visitors stop by the Jefferson Memorial each year. This memorial is open 24 hours a day, with a Park Ranger available to answer questions from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

9. Marble from four different states was used in the Jefferson Memorial's construction. The marble came from Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee and Vermont. 

10. Overall, the cost of this memorial was more than $3 million.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed these fun facts. If you are looking for more fun facts about the many D.C. and Northern Virginia landmarks, I invite you to use the search feature to the right of this blog post. 

Jefferson Memorial at sunrise (March 2017)


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks very much Michelle. Also thanks for visiting!

  2. very interesting and good for school!!!

    1. Thanks for reading and for your kind words. Glad it helps!

  3. very interesting and good for school!!!

  4. Thanks for this very convenient info!!

    1. I hope it helped! Thanks so much for visiting my blog