Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
Lonely Planet review for Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
Only good memorials manage to capture the essence of their subject, but the FDR Memorial takes it a step forward, encapsulating the longest-serving president in US history and the era he governed.
On the Tidal Basin’s west bank, this landscaped 7.5-acre space is composed of four red-granite ‘rooms’ that narrate FDR’s presidency, from the Depression to the New Deal to WWII. The story of both the man and the 1930s and ’40s is told through statuary and inscriptions, punctuated with cascades and peaceful alcoves.
The irony is, FDR didn’t want a grand memorial. In fact, when asked about a more traditional memorial, he reportedly responded ‘If any memorial is erected to me, I should like it to consist of a block about the size of this desk and placed in front of the Archives Building. I want it plain, without any ornamentation, with the simple carving ‘In Memory Of.’ This request was honored in 1965, with a small stone slab (cnr 9th St & Pennsylvania Ave NW).
Come at night. There are few better evening views of the Mall than the sight of reflected marble shimmering in the glossy stillness of the Tidal Basin.