Many monuments exist throughout the country to honor various Presidents.
While some of them are relatively small and unknown, several of them have become nationally prominant.
July 4, 1848, the corner was laid. The trowel used by Washington at the laying of the cornerstone of the Capitol in 1793 was used for the occasion.
Work progressed until 1854, when the building of the monument became involved in a political quarrel. The Civil War brought construction to a halt. For almost 25 years, the monument stood incomplete at the height of about 150 feet. Finally on August 2, 1876, President Ulysses Grant approved an act that provided that the Federal Government should complete the erection of the monument.
In 1880, work was resumed on the project. The marble with which the remainder of the monument is made was secured from the same vein as the original stone used for the lower part. It came from a different depth, however, which explains the “ring” noticeable on the shaft. The walls of the memorial reached 500 feet on August 9, 1884, and the capstone was set in place on the following December 6, marking the completion of the work. The monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885, and opened to the public on October 9, 1888.
Inserted into the interior walls are 188 carved stones presented by the individuals, societies, cities, states and nations of the world.
The Washington Monument cost $1,187,710. The height of the monument is 555 feet 5 1/8 inches. Its width at base of shaft is 55 feet 1 ½ inches. The weight of the monument is 90,845 tons.
On Memorial Day, May 30, 1922, the building was dedicated, 57 years after Lincoln died. About 50,000 people attended the ceremonies, including hundreds of Civil War veterans and Robert Todd Lincoln, the president’s only living son. The main speakers were President Warren Harding, former President William Howard Taft.
New York architect Henry Bacon modeled the memorial in the style of a Greek temple. The classic design features 36 Doric columns outside, symbolizing the states in the Union at Lincoln’s death. The building measures 204 feet long, 134 feet wide, and 99 feet tall, with 444-foot columns.
Daniel Chester French, the leading American sculptor of the day, created the famous statue of Lincoln that dominates the interior. The memorial plans originally specified a 12-foot bronze statue, but it proved out of scale for the huge building. The finished statue is 19 feet tall.
Directly behind the Lincoln statue you read the words of Royal Cortissoz carved into the wall: “IN THIS TEMPLE AS IN THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE FOR WHOM HE SAVED THE UNION THE MEMORY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN IS ENRICHED FOREVER.”
The chamber north of the statue contains Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, topped by a mural by Jules Guerin called “Reunion.” Guerin also painted the “Emancipation” mural in the south chamber over the Gettysburg Address.
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Commission was created to direct the erection of a memorial to Thomas Jefferson by an Act of Congress approved in June 1934. The location at the Tidal Basin was selected in 1937. On November 15, 1939, a ceremony was held in which president Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the memorial.
In 1941, Rudolph Evans was commission to sculpt to statue of Thomas Jefferson. The bronze statue is 19 feet tall and weighs five tons. Also noteworthy, and adorning the interior of the Memorial, are five quotations taken from Jefferson’s writings that illustrate the principles to which he dedicated his life. Dedication was in 1943.
Sculptor Gutzon Borglum began grilling into the 5,725-foot mountain in 1927. Creation took 14 years and cost a mere $1 million.