By Published On: May 20, 20221.9 min readTotal Views: 472Daily Views: 1Categories: Historic Sites + MuseumsTags: , , ,

The Lincoln Memorial at 100

On May 30, 1922, one hundred years ago to the day, the Lincoln Memorial, was dedicated.

The memorial, which stands at the far western end of the National Mall in Washington, D. C., honors Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States. The ceremony was attended by over 50,000 people and was broadcast across the nation via radio. Notable attendees included President Warren G. Harding, William Howard Taft, Chief Justice of the United States and former president who had signed the bill to create a memorial to Abraham Lincoln in February 1911, Dr. Robert Morton, President of Tuskegee Institute, and Robert Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s son and a former secretary of war and ambassador to Great Britain.


The memorial was inspired by the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, and is adorned with ancient symbols of unity and strength. It was designed by Henry Bacon, a New York architect. The memorial features a statue of a seated Lincoln, sculpted by Daniel Chester French from Massachusetts. Other notable sculptures by French include The Minute Man at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts, (1874), and the Statue of The Republic, the 65-foot centerpiece of the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago (1893).

In the interior of the memorial, Ernest C. Bairstow carved the Gettysburg Address (pictured below) and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. Also inside  the memorial are two murals, created by Jules Guerin, with allegorical depictions of what were considered Lincoln’s greatest accomplishments as president, the reunification of the United States after the Civil War and the emancipation of more than four million enslaved people.

This is surely one of the most beloved memorials in America, and it’s hard to imagine it as looking different, but browse these other concepts for the memorial, including alternatives from Bacon, who was eventually selected.

See the National Park Service Features of the Lincoln Memorial and Lincoln Memorial Design and Symbolism pages for more details and images.

Written by Donna Keesling, Editor, The History List

Photos by Lee Wright, founder of The History List. The photos were taken in July 2021 and are available under a Creative Commons license. (CC BY 2.0)

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