The Lincoln Memorial, built in honor of the 16th president of the United States, is one of the country’s iconic landmarks and monuments. If the national monument is on your bucket list of spots to visit someday, you might be interested in finding more about its history and construction.
In 1868, three years after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, Irish sculptor Lot Flannery’s marble statue became the first public memorial to the 16th president of the United States. However, there was still a clamor for a fitting national memorial, which the Congress had been addressing since 1867 with several bills for commissioning another monument for the influential American president.
American sculptor Clark Mills was eventually tasked to design the monument. His plan, inspired by the nationalistic spirit of the time, involved erecting a 70-foot (21 m) structure. It was to be decorated with six equestrian and 31 pedestrian colossal statues, and its highlight would be a 12-foot (3.7 m) statue of Abraham Lincoln. However, funds for the project were insufficient, and the matter was shelved until the turn of the century.
The plans were finally set into motion after a sixth bill, introduced in December 1910, was passed. The Lincoln Memorial Commission conducted its first meeting the next year, and former U.S. President William H. Taft became the commission’s president. By 1913, the Congress approved the Greek temple design by Henry Bacon and the location (West Potomac Park) recommended by the commission. A budget of $300,000 was allocated and finally, construction of the memorial began on February 12, 1914 after a dedication ceremony.
Despite some changes to the plan, the monument was finished right on schedule. On May 30, 1922, William H. Taft dedicated and presented the Memorial, which President Warren G. Harding accepted on behalf of the American people. Lincoln’s only living son at the time, 79-year-old Robert Todd Lincoln, attended the ceremony.
Now, take a look at some of the photos showing the Lincoln Memorial in construction:
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