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Jefferson Monument from the top of the Washington Monument

A view of The Thomas Jefferson Memorial from the top of the Washington Monument in Washington DC.

The memorial is in the style of the Pantheon of Rome (neoclassical architecture). It’s located at the Tidal Basin and a walk to the monument is a must when the Cherry Blossoms are blooming (usually in early April). The construction of the memorial was approved by an Act of Congress in 1934 but the site and the style caused controversy which delayed the building for several years. Several of the Japanese flowering cherry trees were removed which caused considerable criticism from the public. Additional criticism came from The Commission of Fine Arts who deemed the pantheon design a direct competition to the Lincoln Memorial. President Roosevelt gave the final permission on the pantheon style and he laid the cornerstone of the Memorial on November 15, 1939.

As the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson was also a statesman, architect, drafter of the Declaration of Independence, adviser of the Constitution and founder of the University of Virginia. Speaking of UVA, it’s on the list of college visits with my daughter this fall ~ along with what seems like every high school student in Virginia.

The bronze, 19 ft tall statue of Jefferson looks toward the White House. My personal favorite part of the memorial are the five Jefferson quotations on the interior of the building illustrating the principles to which he dedicated his life.

If you visit The Thomas Jefferson Memorial, it is located on the south bank of the Tidal Basin. It’s open daily from 8:00 am until 11:45 pm every day except Christmas Day. No fees for visiting and the closest metro stop is Smithsonian.

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