If you happen to be driving into Washington, D.C. from the south, it’s quite hard to miss the stunning, Pantheon-like Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Resting alongside the Potomac River Tidal Basin, the neoclassical structure was built from 1939-1943 at Franklin Roosevelt’s request, a strong admirer of Jefferson. Designed by John Russell Pope, the building sits directly south of the White House, but is a good distance from other monuments along the National Mall. The nineteen foot tall statue of Jefferson inside wasn’t added until 1947, due to metal shortages during World War II. Inside the open-air structure, numerous quotes from Jefferson are carved into the marble walls.
Though the building initially – and even during construction – had many critics, its final presentation is grand and very handsome. Many at the time thought the neoclassical style was a dead movement and they wished for a more pronounced modernist aesthetic. But again, the blend of these different styles is one of the aspects that make D.C. so charming and eclectic! Should you have time, be sure to visit this magnificent memorial to one of our Founding Fathers and the third President of the United States.