The Lincoln Memorial is found at the west end of the Reflecting Pool that stretches across the National Mall in West Potomac Park on the southern end of downtown Washington D.C.
On passing through the two front columns into the building one comes face to face with the gargantuan image of the 16th President staring down from his seat. This President, Abraham Lincoln, is credited for ending slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation after the bloody civil war threatened to permanently split the Union in two.
Henry Bacon modeled the structure on ancient Greek architectural style. The building itself is 190 feet long, nearly 100 feet high and 119 feet wide. It is constructed from Colorado Yule Marble and Indiana Limestone.
The northern and southern halls of the monument, (which is maintained by the National Parks Service), contain carvings of Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address and the Gettysburg Address.
In the main hall sits the stoic sculpture of President Lincoln that stretching 19 feet into the air. The statue of the seated President is said to weigh 175 tons. The lifelike statue required four years of carving in order to be completed.
Not long after Lincoln's death, the proposal for the Memorial was originally made. In 1867 the Lincoln Memorial Commission was appointed by Congress. However it was not until 1910 that Congress approved a 2 million dollar budget for the project in a bill signed into law in early 1911 by President Taft. In 1914 the work began. For a total cost of approximately 3 million dollars it was completed in 8 years. Since then, untold numbers of people have visited the monument, which is open from 8 AM until 11:45 PM throughout the year except on Christmas.
While a series of steps climb up to the front entry, wheelchair access is available from below the building. Public restrooms are also located at this same secondary entry.
The monument has been the backdrop for numerous public protests and speeches since it was built. Civil rights leaders and other Americans expressing free speech rights have sought to draw inspiration from a man who was arguably one of the nation's greatest elected leaders. In this respect it is most remembered as the site from where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his 1963 "I have a dream'' speech.
Aside from the two entry columns an additional 36 fluted columns stretch upward some 44 feet representing the 36 states that belonged to the Union at the time of Lincoln's assassination.
While the Smithsonian Metro stop is the closest, various Metro stations are in walking distance including Faragut North and L'Enfant Plaza.
The White stone building is illuminated at night, an hour when fewer tourists are about. Parking nearby is difficult at all hours of the day and at night, thus it is recommended to take the Metro.