Origins and future plans

In 1791 Pierre L’Enfant, hired by President George Washington to create a plan for the capital city, proposed a public promenade from the Capitol to the Potomac, the area we now call the Mall, but his plan was not implemented immediately.

By 1900, a railroad station and tracks, industrial buildings and a series of tree-filled gardens shared the space with Smithsonian buildings. The 1902 McMillan Plan, named for Michigan Sen. James McMillan, who chaired the commission overseeing the space, restored the Mall to L’Enfant’s vision. The plan created the Mall’s wide, open vista and extended the park to include the tidal flats of the Potomac, which were being reclaimed.

The Landmark Music Festival for the National Mall, Sept. 26 and 27, is being held to raise awareness and money for ongoing renovation, according to the Trust for the National Mall. Also in the works: plans to restore Constitution Gardens to include a welcome center, rebuild the Sylvan Theater and rehabilitate the U.S. Park Police Stables.

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS

1890

1894 Protests start

Populist Jacob S. Coxey led a group of unemployed workers, known as Coxey’s Army, to Washington during the depression. The Mall was then a series of tree-filled parks with winding paths; they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue.

1900

1910

1913

Suffrage parade

More than 5,000 marchers, mostly women, marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in the Woman Suffrage Parade.

1920

1925

KKK march

About 25,000 members of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan marched in full regalia down Pennsylvania Avenue.

1930

1934

Cherry blossoms

The first cherry blossom festival opened on April 19, 1934. First lady Eleanor Roosevelt and delegates from the Japanese Embassy led a sunrise ceremony.

1940

1939, 1943

Fighting bigotry

Contralto Marian Anderson, barred from Constitution Hall because of her race, sang from the Lincoln Memorial in April 1939. In October 1943, 400 rabbis marched on the Mall urging the president to rescue Holocaust victims.

1950

1963

Jobs and freedom

About 250,000 people joined

the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, one of the largest civil rights demonstrations in U.S. history. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

1960

1969

Against the war

About half a million people gathered throughout the capital, including on

the Mall, to protest the Vietnam War.

1970

1978-79

More causes

In 1978, the American Indian Movement conducted the Longest Walk, a march from Alcatraz Island to the Mall to support tribal rights. In February 1979, hundreds of farmers on tractors occupied the Mall to protest farm policies. In October, the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights helped nationalize the gay rights movement.

1980

1990

1995

Million Man March

At least 400,000 people participated in the Million Man March, aimed at presenting a new definition of African American manhood to the nation.

2000

2009

“We Are One”

The concert for president-elect Barack Obama featured a parade of stars, including Garth Brooks, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, Herbie Hancock, Sheryl Crow, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen.

2010

MEMORIALS

1880

1854-1888

The Washington Monument, a 555-foot marble obelisk honoring the nation’s first president, was dedicated in 1885. The cornerstone had been laid in 1848, but building was suspended from 1854 to 1877; the monument opened to the public in 1888.

1890

1900

1910

1922

The Lincoln Memorial features a solitary, 19-foot-tall statue of President Abraham Lincoln sitting in contemplation, flanked by inscriptions from his second inaugural address and the Gettysburg Address.

1920

1930

1931

The D.C. War Memorial, honoring the men and women from the District who died serving in World War I, was dedicated in 1931.

 

 

1940

1943

The Jefferson Memorial, designed by John Russell Pope, was dedicated in 1943 on the 200th anniversary of Jefferson’s birth. Its dome mirrors the University of Virginia’s Rotunda, which Jefferson designed.

1950

1960

1970

1982

The Vietnam Veterans

Memorial lists the names of more than 58,000 servicemen and women who died in the war. The Vietnam Women’s Memorial (1993) honors the more than 250,000 women who served during the Vietnam War, most as nurses.

1980

1995

The Korean War Veterans Memorial. Nineteen stainless-steel statues honor the 5.8 million Americans who served and the more than 36,000 who died in the hostilities.

1990

1997

The FDR Memorial. Designed by Lawrence Halprin, this sequence of four outdoor rooms traces the history of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four terms in office.

2000

2004

The National World War II Memorial honors the 16 million Americans who served in the war and the more than 400,000 who died.

2010

2011

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial opened in 2011. A 30-foot stone statue of King emerges from a piece of stone representing these words from his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”

2020

MUSEUMS

1847

The landmark Smithsonian Institution Building, or Castle, was designed by James Renwick and housed all Smithsonian operations until the 1960s. Today, it is used for offices and as an event venue; the Smithsonian plans to revitalize it.

1850

1850

The U.S. Botanic Garden, one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America, was moved to the Mall in 1850. It shifted to its present location in 1933.

1860

1870

1880

1881

The U.S. National Museum, known today as the Arts and Industries Building, was designed by Adolf Cluss, known for his use of red brick. The building has been closed for renovations since 2004. The Smithsonian hopes to reopen it in fall 2016.

 

1890

1900

1910

The “new” U.S. National Museum, now the National Museum of Natural History, opened with about 10 million objects that had been moved by horse-drawn cart from the National Museum, which had become too small.

1910

1920

1923

The Freer Gallery of Art was built after Charles Lang Freer donated his Asian and American art collection. The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

of Asian art, which opened in 1987,

links underground to the Freer and the National Museum of African Art.

1930

1940

1941

The National Gallery of Art’s West Building, a gift from financier Andrew W. Mellon, was designed in the classical style by John Russell Pope. The modern East Building, designed by I.M. Pei, was funded in 1978 by Mellon’s children.

1950

1960

1964

The sixth Smithsonian building on the Mall, the National Museum of American History collects and preserves more than 3 million artifacts, including the Star-Spangled Banner and Dorothy’s ruby slippers.

1970

1974, 1976

The Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden replaced the 1887 Army Medical Museum and Library. The National Air and Space Museum was built on the test site for a Civil War balloon corps.

1980

1990

2000

2004

The National Museum of the American Indian opened. It is one of the world’s largest collections of artifacts from native peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

2010

2016

The National Museum of African American History and Culture, scheduled to open in 2016, will be the Smithsonian’s 19th museum and the only national gallery devoted solely to African American life, art, history and culture.

2020

Origins and future plans

In 1791 Pierre L’Enfant, hired by President George Washington to create a plan for the capital city, proposed a public promenade from the Capitol to the Potomac, the area we now call the Mall, but his plan was not implemented immediately.

The Landmark Music Festival for the National Mall, Sept. 26 and 27, is being held to raise awareness and money for ongoing renovation, according to the Trust for the National Mall. Also in the works: plans to restore Constitution Gardens to include a welcome center, rebuild the Sylvan Theater and rehabilitate the U.S. Park Police Stables.

By 1900, a railroad station and tracks, industrial buildings and a series of tree-filled gardens shared the space with Smithsonian buildings. The 1902 McMillan Plan, named for Michigan Sen. James McMillan, who chaired the commission overseeing the space, restored the Mall to L’Enfant’s vision. The plan created the Mall’s wide, open vista and extended the park to include the tidal flats of the Potomac, which were being reclaimed.

Walking through time

MUSEUMS

1847

The landmark Smithsonian Institution Building, or Castle, was designed by James Renwick and housed all Smithsonian operations until the 1960s. Today, it is used for offices and as an event venue; the Smithsonian plans to revitalize it.

1850

MEMORIALS

1854-1888

The Washington Monument, a 555-foot marble obelisk honoring the nation’s first president, was dedicated in 1885. The cornerstone had been laid in 1848, but building was suspended from 1854 to 1877; the monument opened to the public in 1888.

1850

The U.S. Botanic Garden, one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America, was moved to the Mall in 1850. It shifted to its present location in 1933.

1860

1870

1880

1881

The U.S. National Museum, known today as the Arts and Industries Building, was designed by Adolf Cluss, known for his use of red brick. The building has been closed for renovations since 2004. The Smithsonian hopes to reopen it in fall 2016.

 

1890

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS

1894 Protests start

Populist Jacob S. Coxey led a group of unemployed workers, known as Coxey’s Army, to Washington during the depression. The Mall was then a series of tree-filled parks with winding paths; they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue.

1900

1910

The “new” U.S. National Museum, now the National Museum of Natural History, opened with about 10 million objects that had been moved by horse-drawn cart from the National Museum, which had become too small.

1910

1913

Suffrage parade

More than 5,000 marchers, mostly women, marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in the Woman Suffrage Parade.

1922

The Lincoln Memorial features a solitary, 19-foot-tall statue of President Abraham Lincoln sitting in contemplation, flanked by inscriptions from his second inaugural address and the Gettysburg Address.

1920

1923

The Freer Gallery of Art was built after Charles Lang Freer donated his Asian and American art collection. The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

of Asian art, which opened in 1987,

links underground to the Freer and the National Museum of African Art.

1925

KKK march

About 25,000 members of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan marched in full regalia down Pennsylvania Avenue.

1930

1931

The D.C. War Memorial, honoring the men and women from the District who died serving in World War I, was dedicated in 1931.

 

 

1934

Cherry blossoms

The first cherry blossom festival opened on April 19, 1934. First lady Eleanor Roosevelt and delegates from the Japanese Embassy led a sunrise ceremony.

1940

1941

The National Gallery of Art’s West Building, a gift from financier Andrew W. Mellon, was designed in the classical style by John Russell Pope. The modern East Building, designed by I.M. Pei, was funded in 1978 by Mellon’s children.

1939, 1943

Fighting bigotry

Contralto Marian Anderson, barred from Constitution Hall because of her race, sang from the Lincoln Memorial in April 1939. In October 1943, 400 rabbis marched on the Mall urging the president to rescue Holocaust victims.

1943

The Jefferson Memorial, designed by John Russell Pope, was dedicated in 1943 on the 200th anniversary of Jefferson’s birth. Its dome mirrors the University of Virginia’s Rotunda, which Jefferson designed.

1950

1963

Jobs and freedom

About 250,000 people joined

the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, one of the largest civil rights demonstrations in U.S. history. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

1960

1964

The sixth Smithsonian building on the Mall, the National Museum of American History collects and preserves more than 3 million artifacts, including the Star-Spangled Banner and Dorothy’s ruby slippers.

1969

Against the war

About half a million people gathered throughout the capital, including on

the Mall, to protest the Vietnam War.

1970

1982

The Vietnam Veterans

Memorial lists the names of more than 58,000 servicemen and women who died in the war. The Vietnam Women’s Memorial (1993) honors the more than 250,000 women who served during the Vietnam War, most as nurses.

1974, 1976

The Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden replaced the 1887 Army Medical Museum and Library. The National Air and Space Museum was built on the test site for a Civil War balloon corps.

1978-79

More causes

In 1978, the American Indian Movement conducted the Longest Walk, a march from Alcatraz Island to the Mall to support tribal rights. In February 1979, hundreds of farmers on tractors occupied the Mall to protest farm policies. In October, the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights helped nationalize the gay rights movement.

1980

1995

The Korean War Veterans Memorial. Nineteen stainless-steel statues honor the 5.8 million Americans who served and the more than 36,000 who died in the hostilities.

1990

1997

The FDR Memorial. Designed by Lawrence Halprin, this sequence of four outdoor rooms traces the history of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four terms in office.

1995

Million Man March

At least 400,000 people participated in the Million Man March, aimed at presenting a new definition of African American manhood to the nation.

2000

2004

The National Museum of the American Indian opened. It is one of the world’s largest collections of artifacts from native peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

2004

The National World War II Memorial honors the 16 million Americans who served in the war and the more than 400,000 who died.

2009

“We Are One”

The concert for president-elect Barack Obama featured a parade of stars, including Garth Brooks, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, Herbie Hancock, Sheryl Crow, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen.

2010

2011

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial opened in 2011. A 30-foot stone statue of King emerges from a piece of stone representing these words from his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”

2016

The National Museum of African American History and Culture, scheduled to open in 2016, will be the Smithsonian’s 19th museum and the only national gallery devoted solely to African American life, art, history and culture.

2020

Origins and future plans

In 1791 Pierre L’Enfant, hired by President George Washington to create a plan for the capital city, proposed a public promenade from the Capitol to the Potomac, the area we now call the Mall, but his plan was not implemented immediately.

By 1900, a railroad station and tracks, industrial buildings and a series of tree-filled gardens shared the space with Smithsonian buildings. The 1902 McMillan Plan, named for Michigan Sen. James McMillan, who chaired the commission overseeing the space, restored the Mall to L’Enfant’s vision. The plan created the Mall’s wide, open vista and extended the park to include the tidal flats of the Potomac, which were being reclaimed.

The Landmark Music Festival for the National Mall, Sept. 26 and 27, is being held to raise awareness and money for ongoing renovation, according to the Trust for the National Mall. Also in the works: plans to restore Constitution Gardens to include a welcome center, rebuild the Sylvan Theater and rehabilitate the U.S. Park Police Stables.

Walking through time

MUSEUMS

1847

The landmark Smithsonian Institution Building, or Castle, was designed by James Renwick and housed all Smithsonian operations until the 1960s. Today, it is used for offices and as an event venue; the Smithsonian plans to revitalize it.

1850

1850

The U.S. Botanic Garden, one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America, was moved to the Mall in 1850. It shifted to its present location in 1933.

1860

1870

1880

1881

The U.S. National Museum, known today as the Arts and Industries Building, was designed by Adolf Cluss, known for his use of red brick. The building has been closed for renovations since 2004. The Smithsonian hopes to reopen it in fall 2016.

 

MEMORIALS

1854-1888

The Washington Monument, a 555-foot marble obelisk honoring the nation’s first president, was dedicated in 1885. The cornerstone had been laid in 1848, but building was suspended from 1854 to 1877; the monument opened to the public in 1888.

1890

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS

1894 Protests start

Populist Jacob S. Coxey led a group of unemployed workers, known as Coxey’s Army, to Washington during the depression. The Mall was then a series of tree-filled parks with winding paths; they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue.

1900

1910

The “new” U.S. National Museum, now the National Museum of Natural History, opened with about 10 million objects that had been moved by horse-drawn cart from the National Museum, which had become too small.

1910

1913 Suffrage parade

More than 5,000 marchers, mostly women, marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in the Woman Suffrage Parade.

1920

1922

The Lincoln Memorial features a solitary, 19-foot-tall statue of President Abraham Lincoln sitting in contemplation, flanked by inscriptions from his second inaugural address and the Gettysburg Address.

1923

The Freer Gallery of Art was built after Charles Lang Freer donated his Asian and American art collection. The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

of Asian art, which opened in 1987,

links underground to the Freer and the National Museum of African Art.

1925 KKK march

About 25,000 members of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan marched in full regalia down Pennsylvania Avenue.

1930

1931

The D.C. War Memorial, honoring the men and women from the District who died serving in World War I, was dedicated in 1931.

 

 

1934 Cherry blossoms

The first cherry blossom festival opened on April 19, 1934. First lady Eleanor Roosevelt and delegates from the Japanese Embassy led a sunrise ceremony.

1940

1941

The National Gallery of Art’s West Building, a gift from financier Andrew W. Mellon, was designed in the classical style by John Russell Pope. The modern East Building, designed by I.M. Pei, was funded in 1978 by Mellon’s children.

1939, 1943 Fighting bigotry

Contralto Marian Anderson, barred from Constitution Hall because of her race, sang from the Lincoln Memorial in April 1939. In October 1943, 400 rabbis marched on the Mall urging the president to rescue Holocaust victims.

1943

The Jefferson Memorial, designed by John Russell Pope, was dedicated in 1943 on the 200th anniversary of Jefferson’s birth. Its dome mirrors the University of Virginia’s Rotunda, which Jefferson designed.

1950

1963 Jobs and freedom

About 250,000 people joined

the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, one of the largest civil rights demonstrations in U.S. history. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

1960

1964

The sixth Smithsonian building on the Mall, the National Museum of American History collects and preserves more than 3 million artifacts, including the Star-Spangled Banner and Dorothy’s ruby slippers.

1969 Against the war

About half a million people gathered throughout the capital, including on

the Mall, to protest the Vietnam War.

1970

1982

The Vietnam Veterans

Memorial lists the names of more than 58,000 servicemen and women who died in the war. The Vietnam Women’s Memorial (1993) honors the more than 250,000 women who served during the Vietnam War, most as nurses.

1974, 1976

The Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden replaced the 1887 Army Medical Museum and Library. The National Air and Space Museum was built on the test site for a Civil War balloon corps.

1978-79 More causes

In 1978, the American Indian Movement conducted the Longest Walk, a march from Alcatraz Island to the Mall to support tribal rights. In February 1979, hundreds of farmers on tractors occupied the Mall to protest farm policies. In October, the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights helped nationalize the gay rights movement.

1980

1995

The Korean War Veterans Memorial. Nineteen stainless-steel statues honor the 5.8 million Americans who served and the more than 36,000 who died in the hostilities.

1990

1997

The FDR Memorial. Designed by Lawrence Halprin, this sequence of four outdoor rooms traces the history of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four terms in office.

1995 Million Man March

At least 400,000 people participated in the Million Man March, aimed at presenting a new definition of African American manhood to the nation.

2000

2004

The National Museum of the American Indian opened. It is one of the world’s largest collections of artifacts from native peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

2004

The National World War II Memorial honors the 16 million Americans who served in the war and the more than 400,000 who died.

2009 “We Are One”

The concert for president-elect Barack Obama featured a parade of stars, including Garth Brooks, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, Herbie Hancock, Sheryl Crow, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen.

2010

2011

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial opened in 2011. A 30-foot stone statue of King emerges from a piece of stone representing these words from his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”

2016

The National Museum of African American History and Culture, scheduled to open in 2016, will be the Smithsonian’s 19th museum and the only national gallery devoted solely to African American life, art, history and culture.

2020