What is the reason for the Lincoln memorial being surrounded by numerous columns?

Tourist Attractions

By Kristy Tolley

Introduction to the Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial located in Washington D.C. is one of the most iconic landmarks in America. It was built in honor of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, who served from 1861 until his elimination in 1865. The memorial has been a popular destination for tourists and locals alike since its dedication in 1922. It serves as a symbol of national unity, freedom, and civil rights.

Overview of the Memorial’s Architecture

The Lincoln Memorial was designed by architect Henry Bacon, who was inspired by classical Greek and Roman architecture. Bacon’s design is a neoclassical style that features 36 Doric columns, a prominent feature of ancient Greek temples. The memorial’s exterior is made of marble, while the interior is decorated with murals, sculptures, and inscriptions that tell the story of Abraham Lincoln’s life and legacy.

Notable Features of the Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial’s most notable features are its massive size, breathtaking views, and impressive columns. The interior of the memorial features a 19-foot-tall statue of Abraham Lincoln sitting in contemplation, facing the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building. The exterior of the memorial has 36 columns, each standing at 44 feet tall, that surround the building’s perimeter. These columns are a significant architectural feature that adds to the grandeur and symbolism of the memorial.

The Role of Columns in Classical Architecture

Columns are a fundamental architectural element in classical Greek and Roman architecture, which is the inspiration for the Lincoln Memorial’s design. Columns are vertical supports that hold up a horizontal element, such as an architrave or a beam. In classical architecture, columns are used to create a sense of order, symmetry, and proportion in buildings. They also serve as a visual representation of the ideals of strength, stability, and endurance.

The Neo-Classical Style of the Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial is an excellent example of neoclassical architecture, a style that emerged in the 18th century in Europe and America. Neoclassical architecture was a revival of classical architecture that sought to embody the principles of classical design in a contemporary context. The Lincoln Memorial’s neoclassical style reflects the ideals of the American Renaissance, a period of renewed interest in classical art and architecture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Significance of Columns in the Memorial’s Design

The columns at the Lincoln Memorial serve a dual purpose. They are functional elements that support the weight of the building’s roof and create a sense of order and symmetry. At the same time, they are symbolic of the classical ideals that inspired the memorial’s design. The columns at the Lincoln Memorial represent strength, stability, and endurance, which are the qualities that Abraham Lincoln embodied as a leader and statesman.

The Number of Columns at the Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial has 36 columns, which is a significant number in the memorial’s design. The number 36 is divisible by 12, which is the number of states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death. The columns are arranged in a double colonnade that creates a sense of depth and perspective, drawing visitors’ attention to the central chamber where Lincoln’s statue is located.

The Symbolism of the Columns at the Lincoln Memorial

The columns at the Lincoln Memorial are symbolic of the classical ideals of democracy, stability, and strength. They represent the pillars of American society and the values that Abraham Lincoln fought to uphold as President. The columns also symbolize the Union’s strength and the resolve of the American people to preserve the nation’s integrity during a time of great division and conflict.

The Impact of the Columns on Visitors’ Experience

The columns at the Lincoln Memorial have a profound impact on visitors’ experience. The scale and grandeur of the columns create a sense of awe and reverence, emphasizing the importance of the memorial’s purpose. The columns also frame the central chamber, drawing visitors’ attention to Lincoln’s statue and the inscriptions that tell his story. The Memorial’s design invites visitors to reflect on Lincoln’s legacy and the ideals of freedom, democracy, and equality.

Historical Context of Columns in American Architecture

Columns have played a significant role in American architecture since the country’s founding. They have been used in the design of government buildings, museums, and monuments, as well as private residences. The use of classical elements in American architecture reflects the country’s roots in European culture and the importance of the classical tradition in Western civilization. The Lincoln Memorial represents the apex of this tradition and its enduring legacy in American architecture.

Conclusion: The Enduring Legacy of the Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial is a testament to the enduring legacy of Abraham Lincoln and the ideals of democracy, freedom, and equality. Its neoclassical design, featuring 36 impressive columns, reflects the classical ideals that inspired the American Renaissance. The columns at the Lincoln Memorial are not merely functional elements; they are symbolic of the strength, stability, and endurance that Lincoln embodied as a leader and statesman. For generations to come, the Lincoln Memorial will continue to inspire visitors and remind them of the importance of these ideals in American society.

Additional Resources for Learning More about the Lincoln Memorial

  • National Park Service: Lincoln Memorial
  • Architect of the Capitol: Lincoln Memorial
  • White House Historical Association: Lincoln Memorial
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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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