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People have an instinctive desire to touch Roosevelt's hand and also to touch the head of the statue of his dog.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
Closest available address
701 East Basin Drive SW Washington, DC 20242
Park is open 24 hours. Rangers are available 9:30 am - 11:30 pm.
30 minutes or less
Best time to visit
Summer, Fall, Spring
District of Columbia
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is a 7.5 acre memorial plaza located next to the Tidal Basin and near the Jefferson Memorial. Dedicated in 1997, the Roosevelt Memorial includes 4 distinct and expansive pavilions which represent his terms in office. There also are several waterfalls, wall reliefs and statues of both President Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt.
The landscape and grounds of the memorial were created by landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, who often incorporated water elements into his better known designs. The waterfalls here have symbolic reference to major events during Roosevelt’s terms in office. There are other design elements that represent important themes, such as a fireside chat display, which reflects Roosevelt’s communication skills and general compassion as well as figures in a bread line evidencing the suffering and hardship of the Great Depression. The memorial also includes excerpts from Roosevelt’s better known speeches, such as his often quoted remarks about only fearing fear itself in reference to economic hard times.
This memorial was unimpressive. The vast size diminishes from its effect and significance. The scale also is odd given that Roosevelt had requested that any memorials built in his honor to be simple and modest. As for the waterfalls and statues, none were particularly memorable or meaningful. One of the few interesting aspects of this place is watching how many people feel a need to touch the statue of Roosevelt and his dog. More importantly, though, one does not leave with a better perspective of Roosevelt or his significance. The Jefferson Memorial is a better option if time is limited. Ranger tours of the Roosevelt Memorial usually run on even hours from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, and last about 20 minutes.
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