Nov 6



The 19′9″ foot tall statue of Abraham Lincoln was created by the Massachusetts sculptor, Daniel Chester French. It is also 19 feet wide. The original statue was supposed to be twelve feet tall, but it was felt that it would have been dwarfed in this large structure. This view was taken facing west at approximately 12:30 PM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.

One of the many great things about living in Gettysburg is not only the history of Gettysburg, but the history in so many areas just a short drive away. Today our Gettysburg “fix” was satisfied with a visit to the Lincoln Memorial, which was dedicated on May 30, 1922.

See our post about Edward Everett’s Copy of the Gettysburg Address in Gettysburg on September 28, 2008.

See our post about the announcement of this copy coming to Gettysburg on August 23, 2008.

See our post about the confusing Gettysburg Address Memorial on May 16, 2008.



The Lincoln Memorial was originally supposed to cost $2 million, but ended up costing almost $3 million. New York architect Henry Bacon modeled the memorial in the style of the Temple of Zeus in Olmypia, Greece. The classic design features 36 Doric columns outside, symbolizing the states in the Union at Lincoln’s death. This view was taken facing west at approximately 12:30 PM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



There is construction work going on at the Memorial, and has been for some time. Since September 11, 2001, the road in front of the Lincoln Memorial has been closed off with barriers. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 12:30 PM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



The barriers are being reworked to better fit into the surroundings. The road is in the process of becoming a pedestrian plaza. This view was taken facing north at approximately 12:30 PM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



The construction of the memorial took eight years to complete, from Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12, 1914 until its Memorial Day dedication on May 30, 1922. The Milford Granite at the terrace level came from Massachusetts, Colorado Yule Marble forms the upper steps and outside fa├žade, while the pink marble floor of the chamber came from Tennessee. Indiana limestone is on the interior walls and columns of the chamber, and the Alabama marble is used for the ceiling tiles. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 12:30 PM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



The statue was carved out of 28 blocks of white Georgia marble. French later had special lighting installed to enhance the figure. The National Park Service states that it is a myth that Lincoln is using American Sign Language to sign his initials with his hands. The left hand supposedly forms an “A,” and the right hand forms an “L.” Daniel Chester French studied Leonard Volk’s casts of the former President’s hands to get the proper appearance. According to the Park Service, they were both in a closed shape for the casting, and French decided to open one up a bit to give a more life-like aspect. However Daniel Chester French had a son who was deaf and the sculptor was familiar with sign language. He also sculpted two figures of Thomas Gallaudet, the founder of Gallaudet University, a university for the deaf. Lincoln had signed the federal legislation giving Gallaudet University the authority to grant college degrees. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 12:30 PM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



Another myth is that a likeness of Robert E. Lee is carved into the back of Lincoln’s head, looking back across the Potomac to Arlington House in Arlington National Cemetery. The National Park Service states that no such carving was done intentionally, but the myth persists to this day. The fact remains that several visitors claim to find all sorts of profiles within the tufts of Lincoln’s hair. This view was taken facing north at approximately 12:30 PM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



There are five known copies of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in his handwriting. On the southern wall of the Lincoln Memorial is the Bliss copy, which is believed to be the final version of the Address because it contains a title, and was signed by the President. The Bliss copy now hangs in the Lincoln Room at the White House. The Bliss copy will be on display in the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History when it reopens two weeks from tomorrow, on November 21, 2008. This view was taken facing south at approximately 12:30 PM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



On the north end of the memorial is Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 12:30 PM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



The statue weighs 120 tons (175 tons with pedestal), and cost $88,400. Sculptor Daniel Chester French was a neighbor and friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the Alcott family. His decision to pursue sculpting was influenced by Louisa May Alcott’s sister May Alcott. He attempted to picture Lincoln in the middle of the Civil War… This view was taken facing south at approximately 12:30 PM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



…looking out to the most prominent symbol of national unity in the capital, the Washington Monument. This view was taken facing east at approximately 12:30 PM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



The Lincoln Memorial receives over four million visitors a year. Gettysburg National Military Park receives a little less than two million visitors a year. This view was taken facing west at approximately 12:30 PM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.


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