Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

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The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool with the Washington Monument reflected in and rising above it in the late afternoon
The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool seen from the Lincoln Memorial
Ice covering the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool after the First North American blizzard of 2010.
The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool undergoing reconstruction in 2011.
The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool is the largest of the many reflecting pools in Washington, D.C., United States. It is a long and large rectangular pool located on the National Mall, directly east of the Lincoln Memorial, with the Washington Monument to the east of the reflecting pool.[1] Part of the iconic image of Washington, the reflecting pool hosts many of the 24 million visitors a year who visit the National Mall.[2] It is lined by walking paths and shade trees on both sides. Depending on the viewer's vantage point, it dramatically reflects the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Mall's trees, and/or the expansive sky.


The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool was designed by Henry Bacon, and was constructed in 1922 and 1923, following the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial. It is approximately 2,029 feet (618 m) long (over a third of a mile) and 167 feet (51 m) wide. It has a depth of approximately 18 inches (46 cm) on the sides and 30 inches (76 cm) in the center. It holds approximately 6,750,000 U.S. gallons (25,500,000 L) of water.[3]


Using funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the National Park Service reconstructed the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. The pool's water supply system was updated to eliminate stagnant water by circulating water from the Tidal Basin; the pool was formerly filled using potable water from the city. Paved walking paths were added to the north and south sides of the pool to replace worn grass and to prevent further erosion.[4] Construction on the 18-month, $30.7 million project began in November 2010. In May 2011, workers began sinking the first of 2,113 wood pilings into a 40-foot deep layer of soft, marshy river clay and some dredged material atop bedrock to support a new pool.[5] The pool reopened on August 31, 2012. The project was managed by the Louis Berger Group.[6]


Located at the base of the Lincoln Memorial's steps, the Reflecting Pool area has been the site of many historic events, including:

  • In 1939, singer Marian Anderson was denied permission to perform at Constitution Hall in Washington, because she was African American. An open-air concert was held on Easter Sunday, with a crowd of over 75,000 people.
  • On August 28, 1963, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom used the area for its Civil Rights rally. It was there that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered to a crowd of 250,000 people.
  • In 2009, We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial was held, with a crowd of 400,000 people.
  • In 2010, the restoration project began.
  • On August 28, 2010, the Restoring Honor rally was held. Notable speakers included Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., former Vice Presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin and the event's organizer Glenn Beck.
  • As of 2012, the restoration project was completed and the pool was reopened on August 31.
  • On December 31, 2012, National Park Rangers, using their personal funds and time, lit over 2,000 candles around the reflecting pool in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation where the Park Service rang in the New Year with a Night Watch and Freedom Vigil and the singing of "My Country 'tis of Thee."
  • On August 28, 2013, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech was commemorated by an all day event featuring various speakers including President Barack Obama and John Lewis, the only speaker from the original rally to remain living.


  1. ^ "Foundation Statement for the National Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Park", National Park Service, retrieved 2010-05-20 
  2. ^ Goodman, Alana (2010-04-02), "Reflecting Pool to close for up to 2 years", The Washington Examiner, retrieved 2010-04-23 
  3. ^ "Deconstructing the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool". Watercrunch. 2009-01-19. Archived from the original on 4 September 2013. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  4. ^ MacSpadden, Lisa; Staudigl, Stephen (2010-04-01), "NCPC Adopts CapitalSpace Plan and Approves Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool/Grounds Rehabilitation and St. Elizabeths West Campus Perimeter Security", National Capital Planning Commission, News Release, retrieved 2010-04-23 
  5. ^ Ruane, Michael E. (2011-05-11). "Deep-rooted support for new Lincoln pool". The Washington Post (Washington, D.C.: The Washington Post Co.). pp. B1, B5. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  6. ^ [1]

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Coordinates: 38°53′21″N 77°02′42″W / 38.8893°N 77.045°W / 38.8893; -77.045