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The Jefferson Memorial

Famous Buildings in Washington, DC: The Jefferson Memorial


The circular, domed Jefferson Memorial resembles Monticello, the Virginia home that Thomas Jefferson designed for himself.
The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC

The Jefferson Memorial

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The Jefferson Memorial
West Potomac Park, south bank of the Potomac River Tidal Basin
Statue Added: 1947
Style: Neoclassical
Architect: John Russell Pope, Otto R. Eggers, and Daniel P. Higgins
Sculptor: Rudolph Evans
Pediment Carvings: Adolph A. Weinman

Learn About the Jefferson Memorial

The Jefferson Memorial is round, domed monument dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States. Also a scholar and an architect, Jefferson admired the architecture of ancient Rome and the work of Italian Renaissance architect, Andrea Palladio. Architect John Russell Pope designed Jefferson's Memorial to reflect those tastes. When Pope died in 1937, architects Daniel P. Higgins and Otto R. Eggers took over the construction.

The Memorial is modeled after the Pantheon in Rome and Andrea Palladio's Villa Capra, and also resembles Monticello, the Virginia home that Jefferson designed for himself.

At the entrance, steps lead to a portico with Ionic columns supporting a triangular pediment. Carvings in the pediment depict Thomas Jefferson with four other men who helped draft the Declaration of Independence. Inside, the memorial room is an open space circled by columns made of Vermont marble. A 19-foot (5.8 m) bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson stands directly beneath the dome.

Learn more about Column Types and Styles >>>

When it was built, some critics mocked the Jefferson Memorial, calling it Jefferson's muffin. In an era moving toward Modernism, architecture based on ancient Greece and Rome seemed tired and artificial. Today, the Jefferson Memorial is one of the most photographed structures in Washington, DC, and is especially beautiful in the spring, when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

More About the Jefferson Memorial

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