Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

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1850 West Basin Drive Southwest, Washington, DC, USA
(202) 426-6841

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Washington Reviews

WalterC WalterC
389 reviews
Nice and extensive memorial to walk through Jul 15, 2016
Located near the Tidal Basin, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial was dedicated in 1997, to the 32nd President of the US. A bit off the beaten path, but not hard to find. But it could be an issue, depending on which direction you are walking around the Tidal Basin. More on that later.

Also known as FDR, he would be the first and only President to serve more than 2 terms. The memorial is divided into 4 rooms, with each one representing a term in office. So yes, he served 4 terms in office, though died in office shortly after the start of the 4th term in 1945. FDR would help the country to get through the Great Depression and World War II, and would forever change things.

The starting point would be at the visitor center and leading to the 1st room that has a statue of FDR in a wheelchair. He did suffer from polio, and would be in a wheelchair when not in public.

From there, you are taken on a little history lesson through his Presidency, as each room consists of sculptures, quotes on the wall, and fountains. Up to the end, where there is a still pool, representing his death.

One thing to really note, is the statue of Eleanor Roosevelt in the 4th room, the First Lady to FDR. She would leave a lasting legacy in her own right, and so far, the only First Lady to have a statue at a presidential memorial.

Overall, I thought this memorial was like an open-air museum on Franklin Roosevelt, with the art telling the history. And the way it is arranged in order, does make this place really worth visiting for the history buffs.

If there was a downside to this place, that would be if you are walking around Tidal Basin in a clockwise direction. Then you will be more likely going to walk through the FDR Memorial backwards, or in reverse chronological order. Not really a big deal, as it would be too much to walk around this place to the correct starting point, as this place is really big. And you would end up walking the length of the place, 3 times. On a very hot summer day, forget it!

With that said, I still think it is worth visiting, if anything, for the sculptures and the running fountains, both of which are really nice to look at. So even if you are not familiar with the history, I still think the place is very enjoyable to visit.
one entrance to memorial
Four Freedoms speech
fountains, which are turned off
statue of Eleanor Roosevelt
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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spocklogic spocklog…
325 reviews
A Walk Through Roosevelt's America (1933-1945) Aug 13, 2015
Unlike other memorials in the District of Columbia (DC) such as to Washington, Jefferson or Lincoln, which are compact or self-contained, the one for Roosevelt (Dedicated in 1997) is spread out over 7.5 acres (3 hectares) in West Potomac Park. It's more than just a memorial to Roosevelt the man, and is a walk through Roosevelt's America, one he helped shape and one, which in some ways, defines the Great Depression (1929-1939) and WW II eras (1941-1945). His policies and vision helped shaped the America of today and its role in the world. I am not certain any president since Roosevelt has had such lasting influence.

Politics aside, and whether a fan of Roosevelt's policies or not, this monument offers an insight into a transformative time in American history. The place is divided into 4 sections, each one devoted to one of his terms of office, which in total spanned 12 years from 1933-1945. Wander through the outdoor gallery rooms with bronze statues, pools, waterfalls and Dakota granite walls with inspiring quotations inscribed all about. It's a place for walking, reflection and introspection. I am reminded of a Van Morrison song lyric when he speaks of "Early mornings when contemplation was best." It's like that - contemplative.

It's rather off the beaten track for tourists along the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, and apart from the other major memorials, but near the Cherry Tree Walk along the Potomac River that is famous in DC for is seasonal blooms in springtime. It's worth a look at, whether going out of your way off the beaten path, or nearby when enjoying the Cherry Blossom season. There are water fountains to be found here for a drink and it's entirely wheelchair accessible, designed intentionally so. Roosevelt was confined to a wheelchair, though the severity of his paralysis was mostly hidden from the public during his life.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
"The only limit to our realization…
South Dakota granite waterfall
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
spocklogic says:
It's out of the way for most tourists, but during the cherry blossoms it's right in the neighborhood of the cherry blossom trail.
Posted on: Sep 13, 2015
Zagnut66 says:
This place is packed with people during the Cherry Blossom Festival but is fairly quiet the rest of the year.
Posted on: Sep 13, 2015
Zagnut66 Zagnut66
112 reviews
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Aug 18, 2012
The FDR Memorial is my favorite of the many memorials that dot the Washington, D.C. landscape. Tucked away at the far end of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park (technically not part of the National Mall, though few people realize this), the 32nd President of the United States is given a sprawling park of his own rather than a static marble statue. The memorial is comprised of five distinct areas, or "rooms," that focus on each of his four terms in office.

The Prologue room has a lifesize statue of FDR sitting in his wheelchair. This was a later addition to placate objections that Rooosevelt's disability was ignored in the memorial design (Roosevelt himself went to great pains to hide it from the American public). The first room is very simple and nearly barren, resonating with the lack of any governmental efforts to combat the Great Depression upon FDR's taking office in 1933. The first of several waterfalls appears that tie the memorial to the adjoining Tidal Basin.

The second room represents Roosevelt's second term, contrasting scenes of rural and urban unemployment and despair with the enactment of the New Deal and getting the nation back to work. Sculptures of struggling rural farmers and a bread line on one side of a bisecting wall turn into depictions of renewed hope on the opposite side in wall panels that depict men and women laboring in the various New Deal work programs - scenes of industrial labor, of artists and craftsmen at work. Faces and hands permeate the panels which are meant to be touched and felt, not just seen, an emphasis on the labor of our hands that is reinforced by messages in braille. The layers of blocks in the waterfall symbolize the projects of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The third room shifts to the American entry into World War II. Piles of granite blocks represent the rubble and carnage of a devestated Europe and Asia. In the center of the room is a larger-than-life sculpture of FDR sitting with his dog Fala, a calm (and well photographed) presence amidst the storm of war.

Room four depicts the abrupt end of the Roosevelt presidency with his death early in the fourth term. The waterfall combines elements of the previous ones yet has no flowing water, the silent stillness of death. The memorial ends on an upbeat note with a statue of his wife Eleanor before the symbol of the United Nations, celebrating her work to promote the then fledgling organization.

The FDR Memorial calls for contemplation as we walk through the connected plazas, especially considering the still-contested legacy of the New Deal in modern American politics. A perfect time to visit is in the spring with the cherry blossoms in bloom (expect large crowds), though the views of the Tidal Basin are impressive any time of year. Try to enter by the gift shop near the new Martin Luther King Memorial in order to follow the chronological progression of the rooms. It is this emphasis on the passage of time that I so appreciate here, an element that the designers of the planned Dwight Eisenhower Memorial are trying to incorporate in a similar plaza space that will depict Ike's accomplishments as both war-time general and peace-time president. There is grumbling that the Eisenhower Memorial won't show him in full military regalia per so many other D.C. memorials, but this shouldn't be necessary if the Ike designers follow the inspiration of FDR.
The FDR Memorial during the 2011 C…
First Inauguration 1933 Frieze
The waterfall in room one
The bisecting wall in room two
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
spocklogic says:
I understand the Eisenhower Memorial was supposed to be completed in 2019 before the 75th anniversary of D-Day. There's still squabbling over it and I saw an article just today about it -
Posted on: Sep 16, 2015
Africancrab Africanc…
777 reviews
The Best of all DC Memorials Jul 10, 2012
The FDR Memorial was one of the last outdoors memorials we visited in Washington. Because it has been unusually hot in Washington this summer, we limited our outdoor tours, making sure we were out really early, or late evening when it was cooler. We came to this particular memorial after touring the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial. It was an overcast afternoon, so the heat was reduced to a minimal.

Located along the tidal basin, it honors United States' longest serving president; Franklin D. Roosevelt. It lays bare the undeniably distinguished career. It was dedicated by President Clinton in 1997; the architect Lawrence Halprin did an incredible job with the quotes and waterfalls.

Four outdoor rooms make up the memorial, each of them is representative of a 3 year term. Each has quotes by FDR and the Sculptures are also representative of what the president held dear. The last outdoor room has FDR with his favorite dog Fala sitting together. He led the country through the great depression and inspired a nation during the toughest times in the history of the United States.

The memorial is accessible to people with disabilities; I believe it was a consideration by the architect since the president was handicapped too.

The famous words FDR spoke "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" are engraved on the wall of the first quadrant of the memorial, along side the first waterfall.

PS: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain
FDR Memorial
FDR Memorial
FDR Memorial
FDR Memorial
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
camwilde camwilde
163 reviews
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Dec 06, 2010
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial was dedicated during Bill Clinton's presidency and celebrates President Roosevelt. It consists of four separate buildings, each representing one term of his presidency (only president to do more than 2). The monument is also very handicap accessible (in honor of President Roosevelt who was also handicapped).

My daughter and I walked through the monument and enjoyed it. We learned a lot about the man and his presidency.

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