Lincoln Memorial is off 23rd St. N.W. between Constitution Avenue N.W. and Independence Avenue S.W., aligned with the United States Capitol and the Washington Monument. It honors a man whose personal life was marked by tragedy and disappointment, even as he led the nation through its greatest test, the Civil War. Born in a log cabin in Kentucky in 1809, Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer, state legislator and member of Congress before becoming president; his 4 years as president were roiled by the divisive issue of slavery, the secession of 11 states and bloody conflict.
Construction of the memorial began in 1914, and it was dedicated by President Warren G. Harding on Memorial Day 1922. New York architect Henry Bacon designed this stately structure of Colorado marble and Indiana limestone, supported by 36 massive Doric columns representing the states in the Union at the time of Lincoln's death.
Dominating the interior is a colossal seated statue of Lincoln designed by Daniel Chester French, carved from 28 blocks of Georgia marble. It is both an iconic representation of a revered president and a prime tourist photo op. Two of Lincoln's famous speeches—the eloquent Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address—are carved on the south and north walls, respectively. Murals by Jules Guerin allegorize the themes of emancipation and reunion.
From the west (back) side is a view of Arlington Memorial Bridge and the Potomac River. Looking east toward the Washington Monument from the top of the memorial steps, the expansive panorama takes in the 2,128-foot-long Reflecting Pool.