The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, dedicated on May 2, 1997, is spread out over 7.5 elaborate landscaped acre along the Cherry Tree Walk on the Western edge of the Tidal Basin as part of the National Mall. Designed by Lawrence Halprin, it traces 12 years of the history of the United States through a sequence of four outdoor gallery rooms--one for each of FDR's terms of office - defined by walls of red South Dakota granite.
The idea for a memorial originated in 1946. In 1955, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Commission was established by Congress. The current plot of land was secured in 1959 with design competitions following in 1960 and 1966. It wasn't until 1978 that the committee finally approved a design by Halprin and authorized construction in 1982. Ground was broken in September of 1991.
Running water is an important physical and metaphoric component of the memorial. Each of the four "rooms" representing Roosevelt's respective terms in office contains a waterfall. As one moves from room to room, the waterfalls become larger and more complex, reflecting the increasing complexity of a presidency marked by the vast upheavals of economic depression and world war.
This outdoor memorial is the most popular of presidential memorials, in large part because of its elegant design, which includes waterfalls and sculptures.
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