A beautiful building and an important monument

He was one of the American Founding Fathers. The main drafter of the Declaration of Independence. The first U.S. Secretary of State under George Washington. And the third President in his own right. There’s a lot to remember Thomas Jefferson for, and this Memorial does him proud.

Hop-off our bus tour here and you’ll see a classically elegant structure residing over the ebb and flow of the Potomac River. This beautiful domed building was commissioned in 1934 by Franklin Roosevelt, an admirer of Jefferson. Inside the dome you’ll find inscriptions of phrases from Jefferson’s life, including excerpts from the Declaration of Independence.

From plaster to bronze

The statue of Thomas Jefferson inside the monument is 19 feet (5.8 meters) tall. It was originally cast in plaster. This was because metal was rationed during World War II. After the war ended, the plaster statue was replaced with the bronze one that you can see today.

Saving the monument

Looks great reflected in the Potomac doesn’t it? Let’s hope the water of this Tidal Basin doesn’t get too close. The memorial is in danger of sinking because the timber pilings that were used to support it weren’t long enough to reach the bedrock. Experts are looking at ways to repair and save the sea wall.

Other interesting facts about The Jefferson Memorial

  • The Memorial was officially dedicated by President Roosevelt on April 13 1943, the 200th anniversary of Jefferson’s birthday
  • The monument has 26 pillars – the number of states at the time of Jefferson’s death
  • The design is similar to Monticello, Jefferson’s home, which was modeled on the Pantheon in Rome