Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Memorial


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It’s been over ten years since we spent a day touring the many monuments and memorials in Washington DC while on a road trip to visit family in South Carolina. We’d purchased tickets on a hop on and off bus and taken it around the Basin to the Jefferson Memorial.


After visiting the Jefferson Memorial, we decided to just walk over to the FDR memorial instead of waiting for the bus, just to go one stop. It wasn’t too far.


The Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Memorial is dedicated to the 32nd president of the United States and features four open-air rooms representing each of his four terms. As the president who saw America through the Great Depression and WWII, and also the only president to serve more than two terms, it’s understandable that his memorial is extensive.


At the entrance is a bronze sculpture of FDR in his wheelchair. The original design of the memorial concealed FDR’s confinement to the wheelchair. In his main statue, he has a long cloak draped over it, much as he appeared in his public life to avoid appearing weak. This stirred up some controversy and The National Organization on Disability later raised funds for the addition of the statue at the entrance. FDR was not deterred by his disability from becoming a great leader.


We followed the pathway through the rooms, past the sculptures (including one of Eleanor Roosevelt…she is the only First Lady included in a presidential memorial,) FDR’s quotes carved in granite and five water features, each symbolizing a major event in FDR’s presidency:

  • A single large drop – The crash of the economy that led to the Great Depression
  • Multiple stairstep drops – The Tennessee Valley Authority dam-building project
  • Chaotic falls at varying angles – World War II
  • A still pool – Roosevelt’s death
  • A wide array combining the earlier waterfalls – A retrospective of Roosevelt’s presidency *From Wikipedia



Location: 1850 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242

Designation: National Memorial

Date designation declared: 5/2/1997

Date of my visit: November 7, 2007