National Mall

From Academic Kids

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1901 plan for the National Mall proposed by the McMillan Commission.

The National Mall (or just The Mall) in Washington, DC is an open area of gardens, fountains, trees, flower beds, and monuments open to the public for enjoyment and recreation, cultural development, protests, tourism or simply escape from the urbanization of the U.S. capital.

The idea was adopted and redesigned by the National Park Service, but originally designed by Pierre Charles L'Enfant. The National Mall refers specifically to the land stretching from the grounds of the Washington Monument to the United States Capitol directly to the east. However, commonly the term "National Mall" refers to the whole area starting at the Lincoln Memorial and extending due east to the Capitol, with the Washington Monument providing a clear division west of the physical center.

Landmarks of the National Mall

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This USGS satellite image of the National Mall (proper) was taken April 26, 2002. The Capitol and surrounding grounds on the right were pixellated before release, presumably for security reasons.

The National Mall features the following museums and monuments:
1. Washington Monument

2. National Museum of American History
3. National Museum of Natural History
4. National Gallery of Art sculpture garden
5. West Building of the National Gallery of Art
6. East Building of the National Gallery of Art
7. United States Capitol
8. Ulysses S. Grant Memorial
9. United States Botanical Garden

10. National Museum of the American Indian (note: the image above shows the site still under construction)

11.National Air and Space Museum
12.Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
13.Arts and Industries Building
14.Smithsonian Institution Building ("The Castle")
15.Freer Gallery of Art
16.Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
17.National Museum of African Art

As popularly understood, the National Mall also includes the following west of the Washington Monument: the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool, the National World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. See articles on Constitution Gardens and West Potomac Park for maps of these landmarks.

Other nearby features

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Facing west across the Mall, with one's back towards the United States Capitol. The Washington Monument is visible in the background, with the dome of the National Gallery of Art reaching above the trees to the right.
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Facing east across the Mall with one's back towards the Lincoln Memorial. The Reflecting Pool, National World War II Memorial, Washington Monument, and United States Capitol are visible in the background.

Other attractions within walking distance of the Mall include the Library of Congress and the United States Supreme Court to the east behind the Capitol; the White House (on a line directly north of the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial), the National Archives, the Old Post Office, the National Theater and Ford's Theater to the north; the National Postal Museum, and Union Station to the northeast; and the Jefferson Memorial (on a line directly south of the Washington Monument and the White House), the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the George Mason National Memorial, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to the south.

The Mall, in combination with the other attractions in the Washington metropolitan area, makes the nation's capital city one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The Smithsonian (Washington Metro) stop can be used to get to the Mall. Parking is also available south of the mall, accessible directly south of the Lincoln Memorial.

In addition, the Mall's status as a wide, open expanse at the heart of the capital makes it an attractive site for protests and rallies of all types. One notable example is the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a massive rally for African-American civil rights, at which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I have a dream" speech. The largest officially recorded rally was the Vietnam War Moratorium Rally on November 15, 1969. Although larger rallies may have occurred since that time, the United States Park Police no longer release official estimates of crowd sizes on the Mall.

External Link

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