Lincoln Memorial Facts for Kids – National Monument of the United States

Lincoln memorial facts for kids brings about some of the most interesting facts about this famous historical monument in the United States. Now let’s dive deep into it!

Lincoln Memorial Facts for kids
Lincoln memorial in Washington D.C. – Lincoln Memorial Facts for kids

What is the Lincoln Memorial – Lincoln Memorial Washington D.C.

  • Lincoln memorial is a famous national monument of America.
  • It is located on the western end of National Mall in Washington D.C.
  • The monument was built to honor the 16th U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln.
  • The structure of the monument represents a classic Greek temple in Greek architecture.
  • The architect of the Lincoln memorial was Henry Bacon while the statue of Abraham Lincoln is carved out by Daniel Chester French.
  • This memorial was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) on October 15, 1966.

Lincoln Memorial Facts for Kids

Lincoln Memorial History

  • In 1867, the United States Congress passed the bill to build a monument in honor of Abraham Lincoln. It was first decided that Clark Mills would design the monument. Due to lack of adequate funds, his plan did not come about.
  • In the early 20th century, new bills were introduced into the Congress for the new commission. Out of a total of six bills, five bills were not approved. The last bill was eventually passed on December 13, 1910.
  • The new commission for building the monument was headed by the then U.S. President William Howard Taft. Later on, he was also the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • About $300,000 were allocated for the construction of the project.
  • The ceremony of the monument had taken place on February 12, 1914. The construction of the monument started after one month of this dedication ceremony.
Lincoln Memorial Facts for kids
Lincoln memorial in January 1917 – Lincoln Memorial Facts for kids

Lincoln Memorial Construction

  • The foundation for the Lincoln memorial was laid on February 12, 1914.
  • The depth of the foundation was around 44 to 66 feet.
  • The memorial was constructed by two companies:
  1. National Foundation and Engineering Company; and
  2. M. F. Comer and Company
  • The two buttresses are installed in front of the main entrance steps of the memorial.
  • On top of each buttress, there is a carved tripod. Each tripod is 11 feet high. It was built from Tennessee marble by Piccirilli Brothers.
Lincoln Memorial Facts for kids
Lincoln memorial in July 1916 – Lincoln Memorial Facts for kids

Lincoln Memorial Architecture

  • The architecture of Lincoln Memorial is based on Greek temples, the most common architecture of ancient Greece.
  • The size of the structure is about 190 by 118 feet.
  • The height of the structure is 99 feet.
  • The memorial contains 36 Greek Doric columns. Each column has vertical grooves called fluting.
  • Each of these 36 columns represents 36 states in the Union during the American Civil War (1861 – 1865).
  • The height of each column is 44 feet (13 meters).
  • The names of 36 states in the Union are inscribed on top of the colonnade (long sequence of columns) along with their dates of admission into the Union. There is a medallion after each name.
  • The decorative molding at the top of the columns is called cornice. It contains heads of lions protruded from above.
  • The names of 48 states are inscribed on top of the cornice. These were the number of states during dedication ceremony of the memorial.
  • At the top, there is a decorative wreath made up of palm leaves and ribbons. This garland is strengthened by the eagles’ wings.
  • These carvings on the exterior side (like eagles and names of states) of the Lincoln memorial were done by an American sculptor Ernest C. Bairstow.
Architecture of Lincoln memorial – Lincoln Memorial Facts for kids

Lincoln Memorial Inside

  • The interior of the memorial contains three chambers. These chambers are separated by two rows of columns. Each row contains four columns.
  • The height of each column inside the memorial is 50 feet while the diameter at the base is 5.5 feet across.
  • The chamber at the center houses the grand statue of Abraham Lincoln. This chamber is 60 feet high and wide. In depth, the chamber is 74 feet deep.
  • The two famous speeches of Abraham Lincoln are inscribed on the other two chambers of the memorial. These speeches are Gettysburg Address and the second inaugural address.
  • The borders of these engravings (speeches) are adorned with wreathes, fasces and eagles.
  • Evelyn Beatrice Longman inscribed the speeches of Abraham Lincoln along with the bordering decoration. In 1919, she became the first woman sculptor to become a member of the “National Academy” in New York City.
Lincoln Memorial Facts for Kids
Central chamber housing the statue of Abraham Lincoln – Lincoln Memorial Facts for Kids

Lincoln Memorial Symbolism

  • When Lincoln died, the Union consisted of 36 states. For that reason, there are 36 columns on the memorial symbolizing the number of states.
  • On top of columns, the names of 48 states are inscribed. These inscriptions symbolize the number of states in 1922.
  • At the top of every inscription, a large mural is painted on the wall by an American muralist Jules Guérin. The mural is 60 feet wide and 12 feet high.
  • The mural on the south wall is a symbol of the following principles: Liberty, Freedom, Immortality, Justice and the Law.
  • While the north wall mural represents principles like Charity, Unity and Fraternity.
  • The Cypress trees on the mural’s background are a symbol of Eternity.
  • The ceiling of the memorial is made up of bronze girders. These girders are adorned with leaves of oak and laurel.
  • The panels of whitish marble called Sylacauga marble are fitted within these girders. This marble is also known as Alabama marble and it is best known for its pure white color around the world. It was discovered in 1814. The word “Sylacauga” is actually the name of the city in Alabama in Talladega County. This city is also known as “The Marble City”.
Lincoln Memorial Facts for kids
Top decorative molding of Lincoln memorial called frieze showing names of U.S. states- Lincoln Memorial Facts for kids

Abraham Lincoln Memorial Statue – Lincoln Memorial Statue Facts

  • The statue of Abraham Lincoln is situated in the central hall of the memorial.
  • The marble sculpture of Lincoln was carved by the famous U.S. family of carvers named Piccirilli Brothers.
  • Daniel Chester French was the main sculptor under whose supervision this statue was built. He was one of the most widely known American sculptors of the early 20th century.
  • The statue was built in four years.
  • The original height planned for the statue was 10 feet. Later on, it was increased to 19 feet all the way up to his feet.
  • If the statue were to stand in an upright position, the Lincoln would have been 28 feet tall.
  • The weight of the statue of Lincoln is 175 tons.
  • The white Georgia marble of the statue was transported by ship in about 28 pieces.
  • The Lincoln rests on a pedestal, which is made up of Tennessee marble. The pedestal is 11 feet high and 16 feet wide.
  • The statue of Lincoln is 30 feet high above the ground.
  • The base of the statue is also made up of Tennessee marble. The length of this platform is 34.5 feet and its width is 28 feet.
  • The figure of Lincoln is dressed in frock coat. There is also a large flag of United States of America draping over the chair.
  • The two pilasters are built on both sides of the statue. In the middle of these two pilasters, the famous American historian Royal Cortissoz penned the following inscription above the head of Abraham Lincoln:

           IN THIS TEMPLE

AS IN THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE

FOR WHOM HE SAVED THE UNION

THE MEMORY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN

IS ENSHRINED FOREVER

Lincoln Memorial Facts for kids
The statue of Abraham Lincoln – Lincoln Memorial Facts for kids

Lincoln Memorial Hands – Lincoln Memorial Statue Hands

  • The legend has it that the left hand of the Lincoln’s statue indicates the letter “A” while its right hand shows the letter “L” in American Sign Language. These letters are the initials of the name of the President.
  • However, it is not certain that the sculptor Daniel French formed the shape of hands on purpose or not because National Park Service does not accept this legend to be true.
  • Daniel French had a deaf son. For that reason, it is conceivable that French may have knowingly shaped Lincoln’s hands. This appears to be true perhaps because it was Abraham Lincoln who signed the legislation and allowed the Gallaudet University of the deaf in Washington D.C. to have the authority to issue college degrees.

Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

  • It is the largest reflecting pool in Washington D.C.
  • This pool is located on the east side of the memorial on the National Mall.
  • It is a large rectangular pool.
  • The Washington Monument is located on its eastern side.
  • Around 24 million tourists arrive on the National Mall each year. Most of these visitors are attracted to the Lincoln memorial reflecting pool.
  • The trees and sidewalks are located on both sides of the pool.
  • The pool was designed by an American architect Henry Bacon.
  • It was built in 1922.
  • The reflecting pool is just more than 2,000 feet in length and 167 feet in width.
  • The depth of the pool at the center is 76 centimeters and 46 centimeters on its sides.
  • The reflecting pool was reconstructed on November 2010 and the construction lasted for about 18 months.
  • The entire restoration program was done at a cost of $30.7 million.
  • The reflecting pool was opened again on August 31, 2012 after restoration.
Lincoln Memorial Facts for kids
Lincoln memorial reflecting pool – Lincoln Memorial Facts for kids

Lincoln Memorial Vandalized – Lincoln Memorial Graffiti

  • The vandals scribbled the words “nigger-lover” in September 1962 with paint on the back of the memorial wall.
  • The memorial was closed on July 26, 2013 when the legs of the Lincoln’s statue were squirted with green-colored paint.
  • This graffiti on the statue was done by a Chinese woman named Jiamei Tian. She was 58 years old at the time but due to her mental disorder, she was sent to a psychiatric hospital named St. Elizabeths Hospital.
  • The Lincoln memorial was vandalized again on February 27, 2017. The words, written with a marker, were “Jackie shot JFK” and “blood test is a lie”. The similar graffiti were also found on the Washington Monument and the National World War II Memorial.
  • These words were splashed with red paint on the column of the memorial on August 15, 2017.
  • Another person named Nurtilek Bakirov vandalized the memorial on September 18, 2017. He was a national of Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia. He carved the letters “HYPT MAEK” in one of the north columns. These carved letters could not be erased so it was polished for about $2,000.

FAQs Lincoln Memorial Facts for Kids

What is the Lincoln Memorial made of

  • The memorial is made up of Yule marble.
  • It is a marble of limestone, which is a sedimentary rock.
  • This marble is found in the Yule Creek Valley in Elk Mountains of Colorado.
  • It was discovered in 1873.

How tall is the Lincoln Memorial

  • The Lincoln memorial is 30 meters (99 feet) tall.

How tall is the Lincoln Memorial Statue – Lincoln Memorial Statue Height

  • The Lincoln memorial statue is 30 meters high from the floor. It includes the seated figure of Abraham Lincoln, which is 19 feet high.

Who sculpted the Lincoln Memorial Statue

  • Daniel Chester French, an American sculptor, carved out a Georgia marble to build the statue of Abraham Lincoln.

How long did it take to build the Lincoln Memorial

  • The construction of the Lincoln memorial was completed in about 7 years.

What year was the Lincoln Memorial built

  • The construction on the memorial was started in March 1914 and the dedication ceremony was conducted on May 30, 1922.

Who designed the Lincoln Memorial – Lincoln Memorial Sculptor

  • In 1867, when Congress passed the bill for building the monument, Clark Mills was first selected as the designer of the monument. However, there was not enough money to finance his project.
  • Mills is famous for sculpting the first American equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson in Washington D.C.
  • Mills intended to build a structure measuring 70 feet in height. Along with this, he intended to build 31 pedestrian statues and 6 equestrian statues. On top of it, there was to be a Lincoln’s statue of 12 feet high.
  • Henry Bacon, an American architect, designed the Lincoln memorial.
  • In 1914, the Lincoln Memorial Committee chosen Daniel Chester French to be the sculptor who would carve out the Lincoln statue.
  • In 1875, Daniel French had also built a statue of “The Concord Minute Man of 1775” in Concord, Massachusetts.

Lincoln Memorial Map

Lincoln memorial facts for kids
Image of national mall – Lincoln memorial facts for kids – Image source U.S. National Park Service

Lincoln Memorial Facts for Kids – Video