National_Mall

39 images from the National Mall, including the Vietnam and World War II Memorials,
the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, architecture of the Smithsonian Museum, and more.

While some of the images are displayed with Title Bars, the available images
from Washington DC were prepared without Title Bars (available upon request).

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Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a three part complex, consisting of the Memorial Wall designed by then
21 year old architect Maya Ying Lin, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial by Glenna Goodacre, and the bronze
sculpture of the Three Soldiers (the Three Servicemen) by Frederick Hart, two of which are detailed below.
The Vietnam Memorial is in Constitution Gardens, part of West Potomac Park alongside the National Mall.

VietnamMemorial_ThreeSoldiers_2922


Vietnam Memorial Three Soldiers 2922

The Three Soldiers (aka The Three Servicemen) by Frederick Hart (1984) is a part of the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall. There was a tremendous controversy over
Maya Ling Lin’s “black gash of shame and sorrow” when the wall was unveiled. The feeling of
many veterans was that the Memorial Wall with over 58,000 names impresses upon the visitor
the sheer human waste and utter meaninglessness of the Vietnam War, inscribing only names
in a vast sea of sacrifice, with no mention of honor, courage, or even a flag. In a compromise to
address this controversy, Frederick Hart was commissioned to produce a traditional heroic
bronze sculpture to be placed on the site along with a flag. Critics of Maya Lin’s design
wanted the sculpture placed at the apex of the wall, but Lin objected, stating that this
would make the sculpture the focus of the Memorial and her wall simply a backdrop.
Another compromise was reached by placing the sculpture off to one side along
with the flag, where it appears that the soldiers are looking towards the wall.

VietnamMemorial_ThreeSoldiers_4957


Vietnam Memorial Three Soldiers 4957

VietnamMemorial_ThreeSoldiers_4960


Vietnam Memorial Three Soldiers 4960

The center figure represents a US Marine, and the soldiers flanking him represent the US Army.

VietnamMemorial_ThreeSoldiers_4948


Vietnam Memorial Three Soldiers 4948

There was additional controversy associated with this sculpture as well. Frederick Hart, who placed third
behind Maya Lin in the design competition, was paid $200,000 for his sculpture design (four times what
Lin was paid for her winning design), and he retained copyright to the sculpture, selling reproductions on
memorabilia such as t-shirts, keychains, etc. Hart did donate his share of the profits to a non-profit which
provides name rubbings to families of veterans, but there were still allegations of POW/MIA profiteering.

VietnamMemorial_2926


Vietnam Memorial 2926

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial East Wall, with the Washington Monument in the background after midnight.

The Vietnam Wall was designed by Maya Ying Lin in 1981, who won a blind public design competition when she
was an undergraduate architectural student at Yale University. Her design was a V-shaped sunken pair of black
Gabbro (basalt) walls reaching 246 feet (75 m) on each side from the 10 foot tall intersection of the walls. At the
ends, the walls are 8 inches high. The stone was selected specifically for its reflective qualities when polished.
One end of the Wall points toward the Washington Monument and the other end toward the Lincoln Memorial.

The names of over 58,000 KIA and MIA servicemen are listed on the Memorial Wall, beginning at the apex of
the eastern wall and continuing to the eastern end, then restarting at the western end and finishing at the apex
of the western wall. Soldiers who are missing are marked with a cross, and confirmed dead are marked with
a diamond. The names are listed in chronological order, and have been read out loud six times as of 2012.

VietnamMemorial_2933


Vietnam Memorial 2933

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial East Wall, with the Washington Monument in the background.

Maya Lin’s design was intended to convey the sense of overwhelming numbers, yet unify the individuals
as a whole. The concept was to create a wound in the earth to symbolize the gravity of the loss. The jury
of eight architects and sculptors studied the 1,421 anonymous designs submitted and then unanimously
selected Maya Lin’s design for its simplicity, subtle honesty and power. The design is different than any
other memorial in Washington DC, and its selection immediately caused great controversy due to its
unconventional and non-traditional design. The design was called a “nihilistic slab of stone” and a
“black gash of shame”. Detractors saw its refusal to glorify the war or set the soldier’s sacrifice
in recognizably heroic terms as an ideological statement proving Lin’s anti-war position. The
critics even attacked May Lin herself, objecting to both her Asian heritage and the fact that
the design was created for a class project rather than with the goal of honoring veterans.
Pat Buchanan accused Maya Lin and one of the panel of judges of being Communists.
The Memorial Wall was criticized for its black color, and for being sunk into the ground.

At the time, the highly controversial Vietnam War had only ended six years earlier.

The Memorial caused so much controversy that many public officials refused to be
associated with it... some spoke out against it. Secretary of the Interior James Watt
was convinced by Congressman Henry Hyde to refuse to allow the Memorial to be built
unless the design was modified to add a statue and a flag placed at the apex of the Wall.
Maya Lin objected to this as it would place the focus of the Memorial on the statue and her
winning design in the background. The Commission on Fine Arts listened to both sides and
proposed a compromise, allowing the wall to remain as designed, but with the addition of
the statue and flag, not at the center but off to the side. Maya Lin was later honored by
the American Institute of Architects by having the Memorial Wall named as #10 on
their list of America’s Favorite Architecture, and in retrospect the wall has been
praised for its simplicity of vision, interactivity, tranquility, and emotive power.

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WashingtonMonument_LincolnPool_4991


Washington Monument Lincoln Pool 4991

The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and the National World War II Memorial
with the Washington Monument and the Capitol Dome in the distant background.

WWII_Memorial_WashingtonMonument_4997


World War II Memorial and Washington Monument 4997

The National World War II Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background.

Located at the eastern end of the Lincoln Reflecting Pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the
Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial consists of 56 pillars and two triumphal arches
surrounding a plaza and fountain. Designed by Friedrich St. Florian in 1997, the initial design was
modified from the original plan of a semi-circle of Neo-Classical columns with waterfall erected
in a submerged plaza obscured from street level by earthen berms, accompanied by several
interior spaces which housed displays illustrating details about the war and America’s role.
The design was considered too large, obtrusive and overwhelming and it was decided
that a smaller, more subtle design would not detract from the existing Mall character
by restricting the view between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial.

WWII_Memorial_4999


World War II Memorial 4999

WWII_Memorial_5000


World War II Memorial 5000

The 56 granite pillars are arranged in two semicircles in the oval plaza, and represent the
48 States and 7 Territories at the time of the War plus the District of Columbia. The two 43 foot
triumphal arches represent the two theaters of war, and are inscribed Atlantic (north) and Pacific.
The entire plaza is sunk 6 feet below the Mall level and has a large pool and fountain in the center.

WWII_Memorial_5004


World War II Memorial 5004

WWII_Memorial_5009


World War II Memorial 5009

Scenes of the war experience are etched into the eastern perimeter wall in bas-relief. On the western side of
the memorial is the Freedom Wall, with 4048 gold stars each representing 100 Americans who died in the war.

WWII_Memorial_Kilroy_5006


World War II Memorial Kilroy 5006

The World War II Memorial contains two inconspicuously located “Kilroy was Here” inscriptions.
Kilroy was Here and the UK version Chad were graffiti ubiquitous during World War II, and there
were other similar icons: the Australian Foo was Here, Smoe, Clem, Herbie, Overby and others.

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Direct Links:

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GrantMemorial_EquestrianStatue_2697


Grant Memorial Equestrian Statue 2697

The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial by the Capitol Reflecting Pool at the eastern end of the National Mall
consists of the second largest Equestrian sculpture in the US (the fourth largest in the world) along
with two sculpture groups: Cavalry Charge and Artillery (the Cavalry Group is shown below). The
Grant Memorial was begun in 1902 as the largest ever commissioned by Congress at the time,
and was created by the sculptor Henry Merwin Shrady and the architect Edward Pierce Casey.

Part of the McMillan Commissions 1901 plan for the redesign of Washington, the location
beside the Reflecting Pool in front of the Capitol Building facing the Lincoln Memorial at the
other end of the National Mall was chosen so that the General who fought for the Union could sit
forever facing the President who saved the Union. The bronze statue of Grant is shown sitting on
his favorite warhorse Cincinnati, standing atop a pedestal of Vermont marble surrounded by four
smaller pedestals, each holding a bronze lion. The marble pedestals and lions were installed first
in 1909, the Artillery group was installed in 1912, the Cavalry group in 1916 and the Equestrian
statue of Grant and Cincinnati in 1920. Henry Shrady spent 20 years of his life working on the
Grant Memorial, and died of stress and exhaustion two weeks before the 1922 dedication.

GrantMemorial_CavalryGroup_2699


Grant Memorial Cavalry Group 2699

The Cavalry Group of the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial shows a Color Squad Charge with seven cavalrymen.
The lead rider on the right has fallen and is about to be trampled by the horses. Shrady used his reflection in a
mirror to model the face of the cavalryman who was about to be trampled (prophetic as the sculptures killed him).

Shrady immersed himself in details of Civil War battles. He joined the National Guard for four years to learn
military practice, borrowed Civil War uniforms, equipment, and artillery, and convinced the military to run drills
to allow him to study the movements of men and horses. He studied uniforms, equipment, weapons and horses
to ensure they were accurately depicted. The Grant Memorial Commission objected to the speed of progress
and pushed Shrady to complete the sculptures by the 100th anniversary of Grant’s birth. The stress killed him.

Fountain_NationalGallery_ofArt_5362_16x9


Fountain National Gallery of Art 5362 16x9

The central fountain in the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Art. Surrounded by Linden trees,
shrubs and perennials are 17 sculptures from the Gallery’s collection and loans for special exhibitions.

In Pierre L’Enfant’s original design for Washington DC, he envisioned an oasis at this location,
but this garden did not open until 1999. Under two rings of existing Linden trees are benches of
Tennessee marble from the same quarry used for the Gallery, which match the fountain coping.

These ultra-wide angle images were taken with a carefully aligned fisheye lens.

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Fountain National Gallery of Art 5368

Designed by landscape architect Laurie D. Olin in 1999, the fountain serves as a skating rink from
November to March and its marble edge provides a retreat during the hot, humid summer months.

The water originates at the center and drains at the edges, while jets arc toward the center of the pool.

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Pakistani Truck Smithsonian 5039

A 1976 Bedford truck from Karachi, Pakistan on display at the Smithsonian Museum Folklife Festival.
Karachi truck painter Haider Ali and bodywork expert Jamil ud-Din brought this truck to Washington DC
and decorated it on the National Mall for the 2002 Folklife Festival. It is now part of the permanent collection.

Decorative painting is a tradition in Pakistan dating back over 9000 years to the neolithic period,
when traders on what would become the Silk Road traveled in elaborately decorated camel caravans.
The paint work on Pakistani trucks defines the ethnic group and region, and trucks feature ornately carved
doors and trim features, metalwork featuring repoussť and chasing (hammered from the rear and front),
and painted detail applied in delicate layers and glazes, derived from ancient Mughal court painting.

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Pakistani Truck Smithsonian 5036

PakistaniTruck_Smithsonian_5044


Pakistani Truck Smithsonian 5044

Detail on the Taj (prow) of a Pakistani decorated Bedford truck at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
Note the intricately carved woodwork, the ornate metalwork, detailed paintings and gaudy reflectors.
Pakistani truck art styles have also been used as inspiration for women’s fashion and pottery painting.

The 1976 Bedford truck is representative of what once was the most prestigious Pakistani truck. In the 1960s,
the son of Pakistan’s President was the sole Bedford dealer, and used his family connections to make sure that
Bedfords were the only truck imported into the country. The virtually indestructible (but slow and lumbering) trucks
were a mainstay on the roads of Pakistan, often working for 30 years (with inevitable engine changes). Painting
and decoration styles evolved to specifically fit the Bedford, which tended to resemble rolling Mughal palaces.
When Vauxhall stopped producing the Bedford, Japanese imports such as Hino and Isuzu replaced them.

In Karachi, nearly 50,000 artisans in small, family-owned shops participate in defined specialties of the industry.
Truck owners often spend the equivalent of two years of an average drivers salary on decorating their trucks, and
especially elaborate designs can take four months to complete, costing 10 years of an average trucker’s salary.

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Titan Arum Corpse Flower 2707

TitanArum_CorpseFlower_2710


Titan Arum Corpse Flower 2710

A Titan Arum (corpse flower) beginning to bloom at the United States Botanic Garden on the Capitol grounds.
The name Titan Arum was coined by David Attenborough when describing it for his BBC television show, as he
felt the scientific name (Amorphophallus titanum or giant misshapen penis) might be considered inappropriate
for his TV audience. The common name is derived from the Indonesian name bunga bunkai (flower + corpse).

The Titan Arum is the largest unbranched flower in the world, reaching as much as 10 feet in height, and it is
one of the smelliest flowers on earth. Its odor resembles that of a decomposing animal, thus its common name.
The odor is a combination of Limburger cheese, garlic, sweaty socks, Chloraseptic, mothballs and floral scent.

The Titan Arum only grows in the wild in the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia. In cultivation, they typically require
7-10 years of growth before they first flower, and then flower in irregular periods which range from 2 to 10 years.
There have been only 150 blooming Titan Arums recorded since they were first scientifically described in 1878.

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Purple Coneflower US Botanic Garden 5332

The more common perennial Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) in the United States Botanic Garden.

PurpleConeflower_USBotanicGarden_5336


Purple Coneflower US Botanic Garden 5336

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Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian Institution was established in 1846 for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.
James Smithson, a British chemist and mineralogist who was credited with the first use of the term
“silicates” and who studied an eclectic group of subjects while living on and maintaining an inheritance,
left his fortune to the United States to found the Smithsonian Institution with the goal mentioned above.
President Andrew Jackson sent a diplomat to England to return with the bequest, and he arrived with
crated sacks containing 105,000 gold Sovereigns worth $500,000 in 1836 (about $13 million today).

Eight years of Congressional haggling over how to interpret the mandate ensued (not at all unusual),
and during that period, the US Treasury invested the money in bonds issued by the State of Arkansas,
which defaulted on the bonds and lost the entire fortune. John Quincy Adams (an ex-President who at
the time was a Massachusetts Representative) convinced Congress to recreate the funds with a 4%
interest, and although there were other ideas for the use of the money, such as creating a 640 acre
agricultural college on the National Mall, Adams persuaded Congress to use the funds to establish
an organization devoted to advancing science. Adams was instrumental in convincing Congress
to ignore States Rights advocates who did not want the Federal Government to have the power
to establish an institution like the Smithsonian, and continued to champion the cause when the
Treasury mismanaged the fund’s investment. The National Museum originated as an accident
when a dubious collection of artifacts that had been dumped in the Patent Office were turned
over to the Smithsonian Institution after it was created (to get them out of the Patent Office).

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Smithsonian Institution 5262

The Smithsonian Institution on the National Mall. On the left is the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden, in the
center is the Art and Industries Building, and in the distance at right is the Smithsonian Institution Building.

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Smithsonian Art and Industry 2718

The Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building was the first building created solely to house the
United States National Museum. The second oldest of the Smithsonian Institution buildings, it was
designed by architects Adolf Cluss and Paul Shultze in 1879 based on plans which were developed
by Brigadier General Montgomery Meigs, an Army officer and a civil engineer who was construction
engineer for many of the facilities in the Washington DC area, including Arlington National Cemetery.
Meigs was also the Quartermaster General of the Army from the outbreak of the Civil War until 1882.
Meigs’ design incorporated elements from the Government Building at the Centennial Exposition
in Philadelphia (1876), which was itself inspired by buildings at the 1873 Vienna Exposition. It
was completed in 1881 and opened with the Inaugural Ball for President James A. Garfield.

Smithsonian_Art_and_Industry_2716


Smithsonian Art and Industry 2716

Smithsonian_Art_and_Industry_2733


Smithsonian Art and Industry 2733

The Smithsonian National Museum Building was renamed the Arts and Industries Building in 1910,
when the Natural History collection was moved into the new US National Museum across the Mall.
The exterior features an ornate polychrome geometric pattern predominately using maroon brick.
Each of the four entrances are flanked by distinctive Victorian-style towers with ornate finials.

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Smithsonian Art and Industry 2735 M

A 993 x 1600 image of the west entrance to the Smithsonian Institution Arts and Industries Building.

Smithsonian_MaryRipleyGarden_5268


Smithsonian Mary Ripley Garden 5268

The Mary Livingston Ripley Garden on the east side of the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building
was the inspiration of the wife of the Institution’s eighth Secretary, S. Dillon Ripley. Mary Ripley was a
life-long plant scholar and collector and an avid gardener, and conceived the idea of a fragrant garden
for handicapped and other visitors to the Smithsonian, and convinced the Women’s Committee to agree.
Designed by architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen in an area previously intended for use as a parking lot, it
was built in 1978 using a unique, curvilinear design with raised plant beds and 19th century cast iron
furnishings to create a unique, quiet space within the Smithsonian Institution’s diverse complex.
The garden contains a display of hundreds of varieties of annuals, perennials and shrubs.

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Smithsonian Mary Ripley Garden 5276

Smithsonian_MaryRipleyGarden_5283


Smithsonian Mary Ripley Garden 5283

The Mary Ripley Garden, shown in soft sunlight on the left (with bird) and in stronger sunlight with fill-flash on the right.
Taken from slightly different angles, the images show the Large Acanthus Fountain, a late 19th century cast iron fountain
 from an unknown manufacturer, which, along with the streetlights, benches, and other unique 19th century furnishings
from the historical collection of the Smithsonian Gardens, add character and style to this unusual garden design.
The Mary Ripley Garden is maintained nearly single-handedly by the Smithsonian horticulturist Janet Draper.

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SmithsonianCastle_2739


Smithsonian Castle 2739

From the center to the left is the east side of the Main Hall, and from the center to the right is the
East Range and East Wing of the Smithsonian Castle. The East Wing and Range were the first
parts of the Castle to be completed. For more than a year, all functions of the Institution were held
within its walls, including offices for the Secretary and Librarian, a lecture hall, two laboratories and
an apparatus room. As the rest of the Smithsonian Building was completed functions were moved in.

The Smithsonian Institution Building (aka the Castle) was the first of the Smithsonian Institution buildings.
Designed by James Renwick Jr. (who designed St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Grace Church, Calvary Church,
and St. Bartholomew's Church in New York as well as the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian, the Castle
is a Romanesque and Early Gothic building of red Seneca sandstone. Renwick was not a formally trained
architect, but he won the open design competition held in 1846 with a cardboard model which still exists.

The building was constructed between 1847 and 1855. Despite its fireproofing, the building caught fire
in 1865 and destroyed the correspondence of James Smithson, 200 oil paintings by John Mix Stanley
depicting Indian tribal life, and the contents of three public libraries from South Carolina confiscated
during the Civil War as well as all of the papers of the Smithsonian’s first Secretary Joseph Henry.

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Smithsonian Castle 2742

SmithsonianCastle_2754M


Smithsonian Castle 2754 M

Above, a 1500 x 1290 version of an image detailing the east end of the East Range and the East Wing of the Smithsonian Castle, the first part of the building to be completed in 1849. Note the crenelation and machicolation on the parapet.

At left is an image detailing the west end of the East Range and the east end of the Main Hall with its Romanesque and early Gothic towers and Victorian-style peaked roofs. Note the mullioned windows on the square tower.

SmithsonianCastle_5286


Smithsonian Castle 5286

The eastern end of the Main Hall (center and left) and the East Range of the Smithsonian Castle.

Renwick designed the Romanesque and early Gothic Smithsonian Castle as the focal point of the
National Mall. The four large towers contain occupiable space, and the five smaller towers are mostly
decorative, although some contain stairways. The red sandstone from the Seneca Quarry in Maryland
was chosen for its rust-red color caused by iron oxides in the sandstone (and the fact that the quarry
owner underbid his competition by a staggering amount). Redstone was a popular building material
 in the Victorian period, as it was soft and easy to quarry, but hardened considerably after cutting.

In the 1870s, the Seneca quarry’s new owners mismanaged the company funds, causing the
Seneca Stone Ring scandal, which indirectly caused the Panic of 1873 and the subsequent
depression, brought down the Seneca Sandstone Company, the Freedman’s Bank which
held the life savings of 400,000 former slaves, and caused embarrassment to the Grant
Administration, as President Grant along with other influential Republicans bought shares
in the company at half price. Grant had sold his shares two years before the scandal.

SmithsonianCastle_2763


Smithsonian Castle 2763

The western end of the Main Hall (right and center) and the West Range of the Smithsonian Castle.

The Smithsonian Castle was originally intended to have been built with a white marble facade as evidenced
by the model Renwick submitted to the selection committee and the Board of Regents, but the redstone used
has a dark, brooding color more suited to the Dark Ages as evinced in the Romanesque-Gothic architecture.

The early use of the Norman Castle was for offices, a lecture hall, a library, chemical and natural history labs,
an art gallery, the science museum and the archives. The first Secretary Joseph Henry also lived in the Castle
with his family. Joseph Henry was a professor of mathematics and the scientist who created the first powerful
electromagnets. His experiments with electromagnetic coils made the telegraph possible. In 1831 he created
one of the first machines to use electromagnetism for motion, which was the earliest ancestor of the DC motor.

SmithsonianCastle_5290


Smithsonian Castle 5290

The rear facade of the Smithsonian Institution Building (Castle) with its Romanesque towers, early Gothic
 mullioned windows and rose windows provides a striking contrast to other architecture on the National Mall.

At left is the West Wing, and behind the trees at center is the West Range. They originally served as the
Smithsonian Institute Library and Reading Room. At right is the west end and central tower of the Main Hall.
Originally intended as a public library and lecture hall, when it was completed the lower sections of the Main Hall
were filled to overflowing with Natural History exhibits, which were later moved to the new National Museum building
when it opened in 1910. The Lower Main Hall was then transformed into a Library and Graphics exhibit until the 1960s.

AmericanIndianMuseum_5253


American Indian Museum 5253

The National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall is part of the Smithsonian Institution.
The first national museum dedicated exclusively to Native Americans, it opened on the Mall in 2004. The
curvilinear building was designed by Douglas Cardinal ( Blackfoot), Johnpaul Jones (Cherokee-Choctaw),
Donna House (Dine-Oneida) and Ramona Sakiestewa (Hopi). Clad in golden Kasota limestone, the intent
was to evoke a wind-sculpted rock formation. The building grounds are landscaped with indigenous plants
 which recall the natural environment that existed in the region prior to the arrival of the European settlers.

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