Editors' pick

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial photo
(Frank Johnston/The Washington Post)

Editorial Review

The Basics: Man-made fountains and granite slabs make up this contemplative memorial, the only one dedicated to a 20th-century president.

Visitor Experience: Visitors to the memorial are first greeted by a bronze stature of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The 32nd president is seated in a wheelchair much like the one he used when polio paralyzed his lower body. Other bronze statues and bas-reliefs based on historical photographs tell the story of the America Roosevelt governed -- one gripped by economic depression and, later, World War II.

Visitors then meander through four sections of the monument dedicated to the presidents four terms in office. Roosevelt quotations -- such as the iconic "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" -- are etched in the memorials walls. The sound of rushing water provides a soothing backdrop to contemplate the president's accomplishments. Nighttime visits to this memorial are particularly pleasant.

Also present on the site are statues of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Fala, the family dog. Walk around the statue of Roosevelt next to the statue of Fala; you'll see tiny wheels on his big chair. Visitors are allowed to touch the statues, but not to sit on them.

Background: The memorial was dedicated on May 2, 1997. Its many fountains recycle nearly 100,000 gallons every minute.

By Metro: From the Holocaust Museum exit of the Smithsonian stop, walk westbound on Independence Avenue and turn left on Raoul Wallenberg Place. Walk along the Tidal Basin, past the Jefferson Memorial. The monument is on your right.
By car: The memorial is located on Ohio Drive between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. Parking on the Mall is often difficult; your best bet is street parking along Ohio Drive.

(Updated March 9, 2012)