Jefferson Memorial , located in West Potomac Park ,Washington , is a memorial dedicated in honor of the third President of the United States ,Thomas Jefferson. The memorial managed by the National Park Service is one of the most impressive sites in Washington, DC.
Thomas Jefferson is one of the greatest figures in the history of the United States. Thomas Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence and one of our nation’s founding fathers. A firm believer in equal rights, democracy, education available to all, freedom of religion and separation between church and state, he was also the third president of the US. Besides being a politician, Jefferson was also an architect, a writer, musician, scientist and inventor.
With his strong beliefs in the rights of man and a government derived from the people, in freedom of religion and in education available for everybody, Thomas Jefferson was one of the most enlightened men of the 18th Century.
The idea for the memorial came from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who felt that Americans need a memorial dedicated to the accomplishments of Jefferson, like there was to Lincoln and Washington. FDR, wanted the monument to pay homage to all of Jefferson’s characteristics and accomplishments. The neoclassical building was designed by John Russell Pope and built by Philadelphia contractor Tyler Nichols.
Construction started in 1939 and was dedicated four years later, in 1943, on the 200th anniversary of Jefferson’s birth.The total cost of the monument was a little over $3 million. It occupies 2.5 acres in the National Mall. The distance to the top of the dome is over 129 feet, while the thickness of the dome is 4 feet. The memorial weighs in at a massive 32,000 tons.
The 19-ft bronze Thomas Jefferson Statue is surrounded by passages from the Declaration of Independence and Jefferson’s other writings. The statue of Jefferson weighs 10,000 pounds . Since metal was being rationed during the Second World War, a plaster statue of Jefferson was first created but after the war, the plaster statue was replaced by a 19ft / 6m tall statue in bronze, sculpted by Rudolph Evans. Inside the Jefferson Memorial are engraved inscriptions taken from the Declaration of Independence, speeches, and more of his writings .
The Jefferson Memorial is one of the most popular attractions in Washington which appears most beautiful during Cherry Blossom season in the spring. Visitors can see one of the best views of the White House from the top steps of the memorial. Also during summer and tourists can rent paddle boats to enjoy wonderful views. Each year the Jefferson Memorial plays host to various ceremonies, including annual Memorial exercises, Easter Sunrise Services and the ever-popular Cherry Blossom Festival.