For DC insiders, there’s a lot to this city –– there’s old and new architecture, an art scene, plenty of history, food and drinks to enjoy, culture abound, and so much more. To tourists, sometimes DC can seem less multidimensional –– they know our home for its monuments and cherry blossoms. And while yes, we’ve all seen the monuments, it’s safe to say there’s more to our city that meets they eye (or that goes in a tour book)…but that goes for the monuments, too. So what don’t you know about some of the cities most famous sights? You might be surprised. Here are some little-known facts about one of the most famous monuments here: The Lincoln Memorial.
- Lincoln’s son saw the monument in person.
It’s easy to forget this statue existed long before what many would dub “modern times,” –– it’s actually been finished since May of 1922. In fact, Robert Todd Lincoln, Lincoln’s only surviving son, was at the dedication. He was 78-years old at the unveiling.
- There’s (kind of) a typo on the wall
Talk about reason to dwell on a mistake. Whoever was in charge of carving words onto the wall beside Lincoln has had to live down the enormity of a mistake that’s etched right into America’s history. If you look closely on the memorial, where there’s wording on the North Wall, you’ll see that in the word “Future” the F was originally mistakingly carved out as an E. They’ve dulled the mistake but once you see it, , it can’t be unseen….
- There’s a myth that Abe is signing
You might not think there is much up for interpretation at this memorial, but as is this case with any type of art…everyone sees it from a different perspective. So much so, in fact, that there’s actually a theory that Lincoln’s hands are subtly making the form of an “A” and an “L” in sign language, conveniently representing his initials.
- The statue was supposed to be much, much smaller
Lincoln is a towering and powerful presence at his own memorial, as it should be –– but that almost wasn’t the case. In the original plans for the building, Lincoln would have been ten feet tall. And while at that height, the stony president might have been able to school all of us in a game of basketball, he still would have looked quite small in comparison the grandeur of the overall building he calls home. By the end, Lincoln almost doubled in height…sitting comfortably and authoritatively at 19 feet tall.
- There’s a lot of hidden meaning
As with many designs at this level, there are few details at Lincoln’s memorial that are by happenstance. Even the distance between things has been carefully considered and mapped. For instance, there are 87 steps from the Reflecting Pool to Lincoln’s statue, which pays homage to the fact that Lincoln said “four score and 7” in his famous Gettysburg Address.
Well, there you have it. See? Visiting the same memorials over and over again when your friends come to town isn’t so bad, is it? At least now you have a little knowledge to drop on ’em…
Find that in your tour book, Great Aunt Sally!