Friday, April 15, 2011

Jefferson Memorial Souvenir buildings

One building in Washington, D.C. I have not written about yet is the Jefferson Memorial. I don’t know about you, but this one is my favorite of the many D.C. memorials. The domed architecture is classic and stunning. The Thomas Jefferson Memorial was modeled after the Pantheon of Rome. The neoclassic style was first introduced to the United States by Thomas Jefferson himself. Architect John Russell Pope used Jefferson's own architectural tastes in the design of the Memorial. His intention was to synthesize Jefferson's multifaceted contributions as a statesman, architect, President, drafter of the Declaration of Independence, adviser of the Constitution and founder of the University of Virginia. Architects Daniel Higgins and Otto Eggers took over construction upon the untimely death of Pope in 1937. The location at the Tidal Basin was selected in 1937 and caused considerable public criticism because it required the removal of many the famous Japanese flowering cherry trees. Further controversy surrounded the selection of the design of the Memorial. The Commission of Fine Arts objected to the pantheon design because it would compete with the Lincoln Memorial. The Thomas Jefferson Commission took the design controversy to President Franklin D. Roosevelt who preferred the pantheon design and gave his permission to proceed. In 1939 President Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Memorial and Rudolph Evans was commissioned to sculpt the statue of Thomas Jefferson. The statue of Jefferson looks out from the interior of the Memorial toward the White House. It was intended to represent the Age of Enlightenment and Jefferson as a philosopher and statesman. The bronze statue is 19 feet tall and weighs five tons. Adorning the interior of the Memorial are five quotations taken from Jefferson's writings that illustrate the principles to which he dedicated his life. Few major changes have been made to the Memorial since its dedication in 1943. The most important change to note is the replacement of the plaster model statue of Thomas Jefferson by the bronze statue after the World War II restrictions on the use of metals were lifted. Each year the Jefferson Memorial plays host to various ceremonies, including annual Memorial exercises, Easter Sunrise Services and the ever-popular Cherry Blossom Festival. Over the years, many miniature replicas of the Jefferson memorial have been created in resin and metal. InfocusTech currently also makes a nice large version too.

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