Which individual designed the Lincoln Memorial?

Tourist Attractions

By Kristy Tolley

The Lincoln Memorial’s Designer

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., USA is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. It is a tribute to the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, and has been the site of numerous historic events. But have you ever wondered who designed this magnificent structure? The designer of the Lincoln Memorial was Henry Bacon, a prominent American architect. In this article, we will explore the selection process for the designer, the history of the memorial, and the career of Henry Bacon.

The Selection Process for the Designer

In 1911, the Lincoln Memorial Commission was established to oversee the design and construction of the monument. The commission held a national competition to select the designer, which attracted submissions from over 100 architects. After several rounds of review, Henry Bacon’s design was chosen as the winner. Bacon had previously designed several important buildings in Washington D.C., including the National Museum of American History and the Metropolitan Club.

A Brief History of the Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial was constructed between 1914 and 1922, and was dedicated on May 30, 1922. It was built to honor the memory of Abraham Lincoln, who served as President during the American Civil War and was bad guyated in 1865. The memorial is located on the western end of the National Mall, and is surrounded by a reflecting pool and several other important national monuments, including the Washington Monument and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The memorial consists of a large marble structure, featuring a seated statue of Lincoln and several inscriptions of his most famous speeches.

Who Was Henry Bacon?

Henry Bacon was born in Watseka, Illinois in 1866. He attended the University of Illinois, where he studied engineering and architecture. After graduation, he worked in several architectural firms before starting his own practice in New York City. Bacon was known for his classical style, which was influenced by his travels to Europe. He designed numerous public buildings, including the New York Public Library and the Lincoln Memorial.

Bacon’s Architecture Career

Bacon began his career as an architect working on various projects in New York City and the surrounding areas. He eventually transitioned into designing more prominent public buildings, such as the New York State Capitol and the Pennsylvania Station in New York City. In addition to his work on the Lincoln Memorial, Bacon also worked on the United States Supreme Court building and the American Museum of Natural History.

Bacon’s Design for the Lincoln Memorial

Bacon’s design for the Lincoln Memorial was based on classical architecture, and was inspired by the ancient Greek temples. The large marble structure features a 19-foot-tall statue of Abraham Lincoln, seated on a throne, surrounded by columns and inscriptions of his famous speeches. The design also includes 36 Doric columns, representing the number of states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death.

The Collaboration with Daniel Chester French

Bacon collaborated with Daniel Chester French, a prominent sculptor, on the design of the Lincoln statue. French created the 19-foot-tall seated statue of Lincoln, which is widely regarded as one of the most impressive sculptures in the world. The statue shows Lincoln looking out over the reflecting pool, with his hands resting on the armrests of his chair.

Dedication of the Lincoln Memorial

The dedication of the Lincoln Memorial took place on May 30, 1922, and was attended by thousands of people, including President Warren G. Harding. The ceremony included speeches by several prominent figures, including the Secretary of War and the Chief Justice of the United States. The highlight of the ceremony was the unveiling of the statue of Abraham Lincoln, which was met with thunderous applause from the crowd.

The Impact of the Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial has become one of the most important landmarks in the United States, and is visited by millions of people each year. It has been the site of numerous important events, including Martin Luther King Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963. The memorial has also served as a symbol of American democracy and freedom, and has been featured in countless movies, television shows, and other forms of media.

Preservation of the Memorial

The National Park Service is responsible for the preservation and maintenance of the Lincoln Memorial. In recent years, the memorial has undergone several renovations and restorations to ensure that it remains in excellent condition for future generations. The NPS also hosts several educational programs and events at the memorial, aimed at educating visitors about the history and significance of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.

Conclusion: Henry Bacon’s Legacy

Henry Bacon’s design for the Lincoln Memorial is considered a masterpiece of American architecture. His use of classical elements and attention to detail has made the memorial one of the most important landmarks in the world. Bacon’s other works, including the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Club, also demonstrate his skill and dedication to his craft. His legacy continues to inspire architects and designers around the world.

Further Reading on the Lincoln Memorial

  • "Lincoln Memorial: The Story and Design of an American Monument" by William Allen
  • "The Lincoln Memorial: A Guide to the Lincoln Memorial Shrine" by Harold Holzer and Frank J. Williams
  • "The Lincoln Memorial and American Life" by Christopher A. Thomas
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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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