The Jefferson Memorial is a presidential memorial in Washington, D.C., dedicated to Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), one of the most important of the American Founding Fathers as the main drafter and writer of the Declaration of Independence, member of the Continental Congress, governor of the newly independent Commonwealth of Virginia, American minister to King Louis XVI and the Kingdom of France, first U.S. Secretary of State under the first President George Washington, the second Vice President of the United States under second President John Adams, and also the third President (1801–1809), as well as being the founder of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, Virginia.
The neoclassical Memorial building on the Tidal Basin off the Washington Channel of the Potomac River was designed by the architect John Russell Pope and built by the Philadelphia contractor John McShain. Construction of the building began in 1939 and was completed in 1943. The bronze statue of Jefferson was added in 1947.
The Jefferson Memorial is managed by the National Park Service of the United States Department of the Interior under its National Mall and Memorial Parks division. In 2007, it was ranked fourth on the “List of America’s Favorite Architecture“ by the American Institute of Architects.
The site of the monument is in West Potomac Park, in Washington, D.C., on the shore of the Potomac River Tidal Basin, and is enhanced with the massed planting of Japanese cherry trees, a gift from the people of Japan in 1912.
The monument is not as prominent in popular culture as other buildings and monuments in Washington, D.C., possibly due to its location well removed from the National Mall and the Washington Metro. The Jefferson Memorial hosts many events and ceremonies each year, including memorial exercises, the Easter Sunrise Service, and the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival
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