We spent our final full day in Washington D.C. hopping on and off our Old Town Trolley visiting all of the famous memorials. Our first stop was the Jefferson Memorial.

The drive along the Tidal Basin gives you a fabulous view of the front of the Memorial. If it had been early Spring rather than late September, the trees would have been full of cherry blossoms. Since Thomas Jefferson was such a great figure in American history, it was important to choose a prominent site for the memorial. This site created a straight north-south line with the Washington Monument and the White House which equaled the east-west line of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and Capitol Building.
A side view of the memorial...note the Washington Monument in the distance, covered entirely with scaffolding due to the damage incurred during the 2011 earthquake. The Memorial was designed by John Russell Pope, the same person Andrew Mellon asked to designed the National Gallery of Art. Pope was influenced by Jefferson's own designs: the circular colonnaded structure is reminiscent of the classic style Jefferson himself used in building design.   

A close-up view at the front of the memorial. Those red bikes in the picture are from the Capital Bike Share. Very popular with tourists, there are over 2,500 bicycles to rent at hundreds of stations all over Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C.-born sculptor Rudulph Evans was chosen to create the statue of Jefferson. The bronze statue is 19 feet tall and weighs over 5 tons. A strange fact: the original statue was made of plastic. The memorial was dedicated in 1943 (April 13, 1943, the 200th anniversary of Jefferson's birthday) during World War II, and there was a restriction on metal usage. After the war, the plastic statue was replaced with the current bronze statue.
The words inscribed in the frieze below the dome state: I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. This is from a letter written by Jefferson in 1800.
A close-up of Thomas Jefferson.
Also on the interior walls are inscription panels presenting excerpts from the Declaration of Independence...

Jefferson's writing on religious freedom...


and the need for change in the laws and institutions of democracy...

From the Jefferson Memorial you can glimpse the Martin Luther King Memorial across the Tidal Basin. That will be my next blog post.

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial is located on the south bank of the Tidal Basin. It is open daily from 8:00 a.m. until 11:45 p.m. every day except Christmas Day. There are no fees to visit the Memorial.

All photos in this blog post were taken by my husband and me during our visit in September, 2013.

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