"North Elevation, Jefferson Memorial"
North Elevation, Jefferson Memorial
By John Russell Pope, Otto R. Eggers, and Daniel P. Higgins, ca. 1939
Watercolor and pencil on illustration board
18" x 24"
National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the National Park Service

Jefferson Memorial
By the early 1930s, only one site remained for a major monument near the Mall in Washington, DC. The spot, near the Tidal Basin and on a line with the White House and Washington Monument, was first set aside for a memorial to Theodore Roosevelt. Congress, however, ordered it reserved for Thomas Jefferson. In 1934 it created the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Commission, which selected John Russell Pope as the memorial's architect. Pope's design was modeled on Rome's Pantheon, with formal tree plantings, small lakes, and large terraces surrounding the structure. The design immediately became the focus of a debate between architectural traditionalists, who supported Pope's Neoclassical concept, and modernists who criticized it as too formal, too large, and not in keeping with Jefferson's democratic ideals. The project lingered for several years during which time Pope died. The commission then asked Pope's associates, Otto R. Eggers and Daniel P. Higgins, to scale down the size of Pope's pantheon and eliminate its formal setting. These drawings are similar to the final design for the memorial.

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