The Lincoln Memorial stands at the west end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. , as a monument to Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865; served 1861–65), the sixteenth president of the United States. A commission to build the monument was first proposed in 1867, about two years after Lincoln's assassination. Because of a lack of funding, the memorial was not built until U.S. Congress approved it in 1910. Construction began in 1914, and the monument was opened to the public in 1922.
Built from marble and limestone, the Lincoln Memorial was inspired by ancient Greek temples and designed by architect Henry Bacon (1866–1924). It stands 190 feet (58 meters) long, 119 feet (36 meters) wide, and nearly 100 feet (30 meters) high. Thirty-eight columns support the building. Thirty-six of them represent the states in the Union at the time of Lincoln's death. The remaining two columns are strictly for structural support.
The central hall of the memorial features a marble figure of Lincoln sitting in thought. Sculptor Daniel Chester French (1850–1931) supervised the carving of the figure, which was done by the Piccirilli brothers. The figure is 119 feet (36 meters) high and weighs 175 tons. The chambers to the north and south of the monument contain inscriptions of Lincoln's second inaugural address and the Gettysburg Address . The inscription behind the statue reads, “As in the heart of the people for whom he saved the Union, This memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.”