In March 1867, the United States Congress incorporated the Lincoln Monument association, which had the task of building a memorial dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, who had been assassinated less than two years earlier. Over thirty years passed before a site was chosen: an area of swampland on the edge of the Potomac River. In 1911, President Taft signed the Lincoln Memorial Bill into law, providing two million dollars in funds for the project.

Work began on the memorial on the anniversary of Lincoln’s birthday, 12th February 1914. The architect, Henry Bacon, designed the building in the style of a Doric Greek temple with 36 Doric columns one for each U.S. state at the time of Lincoln’s death. The main feature is a nineteen-foot tall statue of the sixteenth president of the U.S. designed by Daniel Chester French and carved by the Piccirilli Brothers studio from twenty-eight blocks of Georgia marble. The interior of the building also includes murals by Jules Guerin.

Lincoln Memorial in 1920

After over eight years of construction, (by then) former President Taft dedicated the memorial on 30th May 1922 in the presence of Lincoln’s only surviving child Robert Todd Lincoln. The principal of Tuskegee Institute, Robert Morton, gave the keynote address that promoted racial equality. President Warren G. Harding accepted the Memorial on behalf of the nation, praising Lincoln as one “rose to colossal stature in a day of imperilled union.”