The inside of the Lincoln Memorial is separated into three rooms (north, south, and central). The rooms are separated by two rows of four Ionic columns. Each column has an ornamental capital at its base.
The total number of columns is 18. There are also eight plain Doric columns in the central room; these were added when the memorial was renovated in 1922-1923. The overall effect is one of grandeur and beauty. As you enter, your eye is immediately caught by the enormous statue of Abraham Lincoln on the north end of the memorial. He stands nearly 12 feet tall and weighs almost 15 tons!
Abraham Lincoln once said, "Give me the liberty to know, to think, and to say." This great monument to a great man honors him with its depiction of his life and times in sculpture and words. It is our hope that visitors will learn from this exhibit about Abraham Lincoln and his impact on our country.
There are several ways to reach the Lincoln Memorial from the National Mall. You can take a bus from Union Station (at 1st and E streets N.W.) or from Drury Lane Theatre (on 20th Street N.W.). The bus stop for the Smithsonian Institution's Museum District Visitor Center is across the street from the memorial.
The Lincoln Memorial has three internal chambers that are similar to the Opisthodomos, Adyton, Naos, and Pronaos chambers found in Ancient Greek temples. Like the god sculptures in Greek temples, the Lincoln Memorial's center chamber (Nps.gov, Lincoln Memorial Design and Symbolism), which measures about 36 feet wide by 12 feet high, houses a large sculpture of Abraham Lincoln. The memorial was designed by American artist James Earle Fraser and constructed between 1922 and 1941.
Fraser also designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which is located in Washington, D.C. A third monument honoring veterans of war, the Pearl Harbor National Monument, was dedicated on December 7, 1990. It is located in Hawaii.
All three monuments were inspired by ancient Greek temples. Like the Greeks, American artists of the early 20th century believed that sculpture was important for educating people about great leaders.
In addition to its central chamber, the Lincoln Memorial has two ancillary rooms: the Lyric Hall on the east side of the building and the Indian Council Chamber on the west side. Both are small, dark rooms with no windows.
People have different ideas about what the Lincoln Memorial means. For some, it is a place of remembrance where they can come to honor Lincoln or give thanks for our country. For others, it is a place of protest where they can express their opinions about politics or history.
The memorial is encircled by 36 fluted Doric columns, one for each of the Union's 36 states at the time of Lincoln's death. These columns stand 44 feet tall and have a seven-foot-five-inch base diameter. The overall height of the monument, including the 24-foot-high statue of Lincoln at the top, is 92 feet. His right hand is raised as if in blessing, while his left arm rests on a book held closed by his leg. A halo surrounds his head.
Lincoln was born in 1809 in a small cabin near Kentucky. He grew up helping to work the land and learn the trade of carpenter before becoming a lawyer. In 1846, he was elected president of the Illinois Senate. Two years later, he was chosen by the Congress to become our 16th president. He died in 1865 at age 42 after serving only four years. During that time, he managed to end the Civil War, pass laws that freed the slaves, and preserve the union.
Lincoln has been called the "Great Emancipator" because of his efforts to abolish slavery. He met with leaders from both sides of the war to try to find a way toward peace. However, he failed to get them to agree to abolish slavery, so he decided to go ahead with his plan to free the slaves anyway.
Two buttresses flank the stairs, each capped with an 11' tall tripod carved from pink Tennessee marble. The memorial is encircled by 38 fluted Doric columns, one for each of the Union's 36 states at the time of Lincoln's death. The overall height of the monument including the base and attic is about 35 feet.
The steps were originally painted red, white, and blue to match the American flag. In 1951, they were stained a light brown to reduce their visibility in inclement weather. A year later, they were painted black to match the surrounding pavement.
On July 16, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson stood on the steps of the memorial and addressed a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people during the opening ceremony of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. He was making his first trip to Washington as part of his effort to promote world peace following the end of World War I. At the time, the steps were painted yellow to reflect the sun's rays and increase visibility from far away. But some historians believe that the colors may have been chosen to represent the American spirit of freedom and democracy.
The steps are used every year for several major annual events in Washington, D.C.: the National Memorial Day Concert, the Smithsonian Institution's Folklife Festival, and the Jefferson Memorial Dinner. They also serve as a stage for musical performances by popular artists.
The Abraham Lincoln Memorial, located near the western end of the National Mall, is a neoclassical structure designed to resemble a Greek temple. It includes 36 Doric columns, one for each of Lincoln's states at the time of his death. The memorial was built from 1922 to 1935 under the direction of architect Daniel Hudson Burnham.
Lincoln led the fight to abolish slavery in the United States, becoming one of the first Republicans elected president. His assassination in 1865 during his second term caused shock and grief across America. The nation had come together in sorrow following the war, with many people turning out en masse for his funeral in Springfield, Illinois.
His body was transported by train to Washington, where it lay in state at City Hall before being taken to Illinois for burial. Lincoln has been called "the father of his country" and "the great emancipator".
Abraham Lincoln left behind two young sons who were raised by their mother's family in Kentucky. They did not know him because he died before they were born.
Lincoln was married to Mary Todd Lincoln from 1843 to 1849. They had three children together: Robert Todd ("Bob") Lincoln; Elizabeth ("Bessie") Todd Lincoln; and William Wallace ("Willie") Lincoln.