Aug 1 2013

 

 

 

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When you make the list of most visited Presidential monuments you wouldn't really think that Grant's Tomb would place ahead of President Kennedy's grave site. Evidently being located in Arlington National Cemetery makes it difficult to gage the number of unique visitors to just that site. In fact, the first three years after the assassination of President Kennedy a huge sixteen million visitors came to pay their respect.

Most visitors don't know that a short distance from the Kennedy site is buried President William Howard Taft. In the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. is the tomb of President Woodrow Wilson!

According to the site 24/7 Wall Street, here are the seven most visited Presidential monuments in America

1. Lincoln Memorial

- Construction begun: 1914
- Construction compete: 1922
- Cost to build: $2.96 million
- Admission fee: None
- Average annual visitors: 5,627,865

The first effort to construct a memorial to the 16th president was begun in 1867 with the creation of Lincoln Monument Association. The effort failed, but it was revived in 1900 as part of a plan to construct an expanded National Mall. The memorial to President Lincoln was finally approved in 1911 and construction began in 1914. The memorial was nearly complete by 1917, when the project was slowed down by the entry of the United States into World War I. The statue of Lincoln was sculpted by Daniel Chester French. It is 19 feet high and weighs 120 tons, and it cost $88,400.

2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

- Construction begun: 1994
- Construction compete: 1997
- Cost to build: $10 million
- Admission fee: None
- Average annual visitors: 2.5 million

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C., lies about halfway between the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials. Congress agreed to build a memorial to FDR in 1955, but it took another two decades to choose the location and award the architecture contract. The design finally was approved in 1978, but no money was appropriated and construction was not begun until 1994. The original design did not include an image of Roosevelt in his wheelchair, and the ensuing controversy was only quieted after the National Organization on Disability raised $1.65 million privately to add a now-famous sculpture of Roosevelt in his wheelchair.

3. Thomas Jefferson Memorial

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- Construction begun: 1934
- Construction compete: 1943
- Cost to build: $3 million
- Admission fee: None
- Average annual visitors: 2,313,163

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial honors the United States’ third president. The cornerstone for the building, according to the Trust for the National Mall, was laid by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1934. The National Park Service notes that the memorial is based on the Pantheon of Rome, and it was intended to highlight Jefferson’s own architectural preferences — also on view at Monticello and the University of Virginia. Initially, the monument caused controversy, since it required removing cherry trees from the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C. However, today, cherry blossoms remain one of the defining features of the monument

4. Mount Rushmore National Memorial

- Construction begun: 1927
- Construction compete: 1941
- Cost to build: $989,992
- Admission fee: None
- Average annual visitors: 2,129,585

Few monument projects are larger — or took longer to build — than the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, located near Keystone, N.D. Work on the massive, iconic monument featuring the faces of Washington, Roosevelt, Lincoln and Jefferson began in 1927 and took 400 workers 14 years to build. The total cost was just under $1 million. According to the National Park Service, roughly 450,000 tons of rock, primarily granite, was carved from the face of the mountain. The park, which does not charge an entry fee, but does charge $11 for parking, has brought in more than 2 million visitors each year for the past four years.

5. Washington Monument

- Construction begun: 1848
- Construction compete: 1885
- Cost to build: $1.188 million
- Admission fee: None
- Average annual visitors: 481,170

The monument to the country’s first president has been closed since August 2011 to repair earthquake damage. The cost of the repair has been estimated at $15 million, with half coming from a private donor and the other half from a federal grant. A restoration project begun in 1996 and completed in 2000 was supported by private donations totaling about $5 million. The obelisk itself is 555 feet high and, until the Eiffel tower was completed in 1889, the Washington Monument was the tallest man-made structure in the world.

6. Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove on the Potomac

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- Construction begun: 1974
- Construction compete: 1976
- Cost to build: N/A
- Admission fee: None
- Average annual visitors: 317,069

The Lyndon B. Johnson Memorial Grove sits both on the Potomac River and by the Mount Vernon Trail, which runs from George Washington’s estate, Mount Vernon, to Theodore Roosevelt Island. The grove consists of two parts, one of which includes the a massive, 43-ton granite block surrounded by various tree-shaded trails, while the other is a large, open meadow. The monument to the nation’s 36th president is located in Lady Bird Johnson park, named after his wife in 1968 for her work in beautifying the Capital and surrounding areas.

7. General Grant National Memorial

- Cornerstone laid: 1891
- Construction compete: 1897
- Cost to build: $600,000
- Admission fee: None
- Average annual visitors (2008-2012): 101,832

President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife are buried in the largest mausoleum in the United States, according to the National Park Service. It’s interesting that the memorial recognizes Grant’s military career and not his two terms as the 18th President of the United States. That does make a certain amount of sense: the general who led the Union victory in the Civil War is surely a more memorable character than the president who held office during the Credit Mobilier stock fraud and other scandals.