- Jefferson Memorial
a building in Washington, DC, in memory of Thomas Jefferson. It was opened in 1943 in East Potomac Park. John Russell Pope designed it like an ancient Greek building with a round roof, and it is made of white marble. Inside is a statue of Jefferson by Rudolph Evans.
* * *in full Thomas Jefferson Memorialmonument to Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson, Thomas), the third president of the United States, situated in East Potomac Park on the south bank of the Tidal Basin, in Washington, D.C. (Washington) Authorized in 1934 as part of a beautification program for the nation's capital, it was opposed by many modernist architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright (Wright, Frank Lloyd), who objected to its classical design. Others objected to the destruction of cherry trees (for which the city was famous) and protested by chaining themselves to trees they thought would be lost; still others feared that the monument would obliterate the spectacular vista of the Potomac River. At the urging of President Franklin Roosevelt (Roosevelt, Franklin D.), however, construction began in 1938 and continued despite the country's entrance into World War II in 1941. The memorial was dedicated on April 13, 1943, the 200th anniversary of Jefferson's birth.The circular colonnade was designed by John Russell Pope (Pope, John R.), Otto R. Eggers, and Daniel P. Higgins and drew its inspiration from the Pantheon in Rome as well as the Rotunda at the University of Virginia, which Jefferson himself designed. It is situated on 18 acres (7 hectares) and serves as the southern terminus of the north–south axis that includes the White House and the Washington Monument. The pediment over the portico depicts Jefferson reading his draft of the Declaration of Independence. In the centre of the domed, marble-lined interior is a 19-foot bronze figure of Jefferson sculpted by Rudolph Evans; excerpts from Jefferson's writings—including the Declaration of Independence, the Statute for Religious Freedom, Notes on the State of Virginia, and several of his letters—are inscribed on the four interior panels. Along the frieze in the interior dome is a quotation from Jefferson: “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”The memorial appears at its most picturesque in early spring, when the cherry trees encircling the Tidal Basin are in bloom.B. Philip BiglerAdditional ReadingInformation on the Jefferson Memorial and other important sites in Washington, D.C., can be found in a variety of sources, including Philip Bigler, Washington in Focus: The Photo History of the Nation's Capital (1988); Junior League of Washington, The City of Washington: An Illustrated History, ed. by Thomas Froncek (1977, reissued 1992); Charles Ewing, Yesterday's Washington, D.C. (1976); Constance McLaughlin Green, Washington, 2 vol. (1962–63; also published as Washington: A History of the Capitol, 1800–1950, 2 vol. in 1, 1976), and Washington: Capital City, 1879–1950 (1963); Richard W. Longstreth (ed.), The Mall in Washington: 1791–1991 (1991); and Donald Kennon and Richard Striner, Washington Past and Present: A Guide to the Nation's Capital, 2nd ed. (1983, reissued 1993).B. Philip Bigler
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