The National Mall

Updated on April 9th, 2024 at 07:46 pm

This famous national park is located in the capital of the US, Washington, D.C. The National Mall is a large area that also includes parts of neighboring West Potomac Park and Constitution Gardens. The National Mall can also refer to the entire area between the Lincoln Memorial and the United States Capitol grounds.

The Washington Monument divides the area a little bit to the west. If you are an art history lover, here you can visit a number of museums that belong to Smithsonian Institution. You can visit beautiful art galleries and renowned cultural institutions, as well as popular memorials. The landmarks and monuments of National Mall are so unique that they receive around 30 million visitors every year.

The History of National Mall

Pierre Charles L’Enfant was the person who developed plans for the city of Washington, D.C., in 1791. He envisioned a city with a mesmerizing garden that lines the grand avenue. The grand avenue was imagined to be 1 mile long and 400 feet wide.

Also, that area would be located between the Capitol building and a monumental sculpture of George Washington. Unfortunately, the plan to include this grand avenue was never realized. Today, on the site of Grand Avenue lies the National Mall, and where the equestrian statue should have been, today lies the Washington Monument.

During the early 1850s, the most successful and skilled architects and horticulturists designed landscape plans for the Mall. Thanks to the advocacy of several federal agencies, beautiful naturalistic parks were built. In 1902, the Mall was radically redesigned. Different facilities, gardens, and greenhouses were replaced with open spaces.

The initial L’Enfant’s plan was slightly changed. Instead of 400 feet wide avenue, the wide vista had 300 feet of beautiful green grass. Four rows of American elm trees were planted to contemplate the beauty of the vista. Cultural and educational institutions were constructed in the dominant architectural style of the time, the Beaux-Arts style.

In 1976, Washington and Adams Drives were converted into gravel walking paths, while two other boulevards, Jefferson Drive Southwest and Madison Drive Northwest, were paved and used for vehicular traffic. In 1966, the National Mall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a place of historical and cultural significance.

The Importance of the National Mall

The National Mall has a unique purpose in the capital city of the US. It provides a monumental and symbolic setting for national memorials, museums, and governmental institutions. The mesmerizing vistas, gardens, and landscape of the Mall should reflect and glorify the symbols of the nation.

All memorials, monuments, works of art, sites, as well as gardens are commemorative works that honor noble ideas and events, as well as presidential legacies and figures. Military and civilian contributions and sacrifices are also honored here. Although this is a place that honors happy and sad things that occurred in the history of the American nation, this place will always be a public park meant for recreation and enjoyment of the people.

Places you must visit if you go to the National Mall in downtown Washington, D.C. are the National Museum of American History, National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution Building, and Smithsonian Carousel. Near the Smithsonian Institution, you also have several gardens you can enjoy.

Washington DC Things To Do and See

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