Union Square (Washington, D.C.)

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Union Square, Washington, D.C., in 2012.

Union Square, is an 11-acre public plaza at the foot of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., USA.[1] It encompasses the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial (1924) and the 6-acre Capitol Reflecting Pool (1971) and is just west of the United States Capitol building. Views differ as to whether the Square is just east of the National Mall or is itself the eastern end.

Formerly, the George Gordon Meade Memorial (1927) stood in the northwest section of Union Square; that memorial now stands near the intersection of Constitution Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.


The Square was originally part of the Capitol complex, but beginning in the 1930s the National Park Service assumed jurisdiction over the site. Then, in 2011, it came under congressional jurisdiction again owing to security concerns. The transfer of ownership occasioned some controversy as the NPS had planned to enhance the area to accommodate political demonstrations, gatherings and entertainment events. The NPS expressed surprise at the move and some advocates for protest groups complained, asserting that the Architect of the Capitol and the Capitol Police (who were now responsible for security) were likely to be less tactful and accommodating to demonstrators than the Park Police. A Washington Post writer stated: “Although definitions of what constitutes the [National] Mall vary, the [2011] provision, in a sense, moves its easternmost boundary west — from First Street to Third Street.”[2]


  1. ^ "Union Square Cultural Landscape Inventory". National Mall Plan: History. National Park Service. 2006. Retrieved 2010-11-10. 
  2. ^ Ruane, Michael E. (December 27, 2011), “Control of the Mall’s Union Square changes hands”, Washington Post.

Coordinates: 38°53′23″N 77°00′49″W / 38.8898°N 77.0137°W / 38.8898; -77.0137