The term National Mall commonly includes areas that are also officially part of neighboring West Potomac Park to the south and west and Constitution Gardens to the west. The term is often taken to refer to the entire area between the Lincoln Memorial on the west and east to the United States Capitol grounds, with the Washington Monument dividing the area slightly west of its midpoint. A smaller designation sometimes referred to as the National Mall (proper) excludes both the Capitol grounds and the Washington Monument grounds, applying only to an area between them.
The National Mall contains and borders a number of museums of the Smithsonian Institution, art galleries, cultural institutions, and various memorials, sculptures, and statues. The park receives approximately 24 million visitors each year.
Landmarks, museums, and other features
Map of the National Mall and vicinity (2008)
Features within the National Mall proper
The National Mall proper contains the following landmarks, museums and other features (including opening year):
2002 Satellite image
National Mall proper and adjacent areas (April 2002). The Mall had a grassy lawn flanked on each side by unpaved paths and rows of American elm trees as its central feature. (Numbers in the image correspond to numbers in the list of landmarks, museums and other features below.)
Between Madison Drive NW and Jefferson Drive SW at 7th Street, the width of the Mall's open space is 656 feet (200 m).
Between the innermost rows of trees near 7th Street, the width of the Mall's vista is 300 feet (91 m).
In its 1981 National Register of Historic Places nomination form, the NPS defined the boundaries of the National Mall (proper) as Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues on the north, 1st Street NW on the east, Independence and Maryland Avenues on the south, and 14th Street NW on the west, with the exception of the section of land bordered by Jefferson Drive on the north, Independence Avenue on the south, and by 12th and 14th Streets respectively on the east and west, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture administers and which contains the Jamie L. Whitten Building (U.S. Department of Agriculture Administration Building). A 2012-2016 NPS National Parks index describes the National Mall as being a landscaped park that extends from the Capitol to the Washington Monument, defined as a principal axis in the L'Enfant Plan for the city of Washington.
However, a 2010 NPS plan for the Mall contains maps that show the Mall's general area to be larger. A document within the plan describes this area as "the grounds of the U.S. Capitol west to the Potomac River, and from the Thomas Jefferson Memorial north to Constitution Avenue". A map within the plan entitled "National Mall Areas" illustrates "The Mall" as being the green space bounded on the east by 3rd Street, on the west by 14th Street, on the north by Jefferson Drive, NW, and on the south by Madison Drive, SW. A Central Intelligence Agency map shows the Mall as occupying the space between the Lincoln Memorial and the United States Capitol.
The National Park Service states that the purposes of the National Mall are to:
Provide a monumental, dignified, and symbolic setting for the governmental structures, museums, and national memorials as first delineated by the L'Enfant plan and further outlined in the memorials as first delineated by the L'Enfant plan and further outlined in the McMillan plan.
Maintain and provide for the use of the National Mall with its public promenades as a completed work of civic art, a designed historic landscape providing extraordinary vistas to symbols of the nation.
Maintain National Mall commemorative works (memorials, monuments, statues, sites, gardens) that honor presidential legacies, distinguished public figures, ideas, events, and military and civilian sacrifices and contributions.
Forever retain the West Potomac Park section of the National Mall as a public park for the recreation and enjoyment of the people.
Maintain the National Mall in the heart of the nation's capital as a stage for national events and a preeminent national civic space for public gatherings because it is here that the constitutional rights of speech and peaceful assembly find their fullest expression.
Maintain the National Mall as an area free of commercial advertising while retaining the ability to recognize sponsors.
American elm trees
Rows of young American elm trees on the National Mall, looking east from the top of the Washington Monument circa 1942
Rows of American elm trees lining a path south of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool (November 11, 2006)
The planting of American elm trees (Ulmus americana) on the National Mall following the McMillan Plan started in the 1930s between 3rd and 14th Streets at the same time that Dutch Elm Disease (DED) began to appear in the United States. Concern was expressed about the impact that DED could have on these trees. Nevertheless, the population of American elms planted on the Mall and its surrounding areas has remained intact for the past 80 years because of disease management and immediate tree replacement.
DED first appeared on the Mall during the 1950s and reached a peak in the 1970s. The NPS has used a number of methods to control this fungal epidemic, including sanitation, pruning, injecting trees with fungicide and replanting with DED-resistant American elm cultivars (see Ulmus americana cultivars). The NPS cloned one such cultivar ('Jefferson') from a DED-resistant tree growing near a path on the Mall in front of the Freer Gallery of Art, near the Smithsonian Institution Building ("The Castle").
Route of the Washington City Canal, showing the Mall (1851)
The Washington City Canal, completed in 1815 in accordance with the L'Enfant Plan, travelled along the former course of Tiber Creek to the Potomac River along B Street Northwest (NW) (now Constitution Avenue NW) and south along the base of a hill containing the Congress House, thus defining the northern and eastern boundaries of the Mall. Being shallow and often obstructed by silt, the canal served only a limited role and became an open sewer that poured sediment and waste into the Potomac River's flats and shipping channel. The portion of the canal that traveled near the Mall was covered over in 1871 for sanitary reasons.
The Smithsonian Institution Building ("The Castle") in February 2007, looking north from the Enid A. Haupt Garden
Some consider a lockkeeper's house constructed in 1837 near the western end of the Washington City Canal for an eastward extension of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal to be the oldest building still standing on the National Mall. The structure, which is located near the southwestern corner of 17th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW, is west of the National Mall (proper).
The Smithsonian Institution Building ("The Castle"), constructed from 1847 to 1855, is the oldest building now present on the National Mall (proper). The Washington Monument, whose construction began in 1848 and reached completion in 1888, stands near the planned site of its namesake's equestrian statue. The Jefferson Pier marks the planned site of the statue itself.
1863 photograph of the National Mall and vicinity during the Civil War, looking west towards the U.S. Botanical Garden, Washington City Canal, Gas Works, railroad tracks, Washington Armory, and Armory Square Hospital buildings. The Smithsonian Institution Building, the uncompleted Washington Monument (behind the Smithsonian's building), and the Potomac River are in the background.
The Victorian landscaping and architecture of the Mall looking east from the top of the Washington Monument, showing the influence of the Downing Plan and Adolph Cluss on the National Mall circa 1904. The Department of Agriculture Building, and above it, "The Castle", are in the foreground. A railroad route leading to a shed attached to the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad station (not visible) crosses the Mall behind the Arts and Industry Building, the Army Medical Center, and the Armory.
Map of the Mall in 1893 showing the Monument Grounds, Agricultural Grounds, Smithsonian Grounds, Armory Square, Public Grounds and Botanical Garden, as well as parts of the recently created "Tidal Reservoir" and "Proposed Park"
During the early 1850s, architect and horticulturist Andrew Jackson Downing designed a landscape plan for the Mall. Over the next half century, federal agencies developed several naturalistic parks within the Mall in accordance with Downing's plan. Two such areas were Henry Park and Seaton Park.
During that period, the Mall was subdivided into several areas between B Street Northwest (NW) (now Constitution Avenue NW) and B Street Southwest (SW) (now Independence Avenue SW):
The Public Grounds between 2nd and 6th Streets NW and SW
The Armory Grounds between 6th and 7th Streets NW and SW
The Smithsonian Grounds between 7th and 12th Streets NW and SW
The Agricultural Grounds between 12th and 14th Streets NW and SW
The Monument Grounds between 14th and 17th Streets NW and SW
After the Civil War ended, the Department of Agriculture started growing experimental crops and demonstration gardens on the Mall. These gardens extended from the Department's building near the south side of the Mall to B Street NW (the northern boundary of the Mall). The building was razed in 1930. In addition, greenhouses belonging to the U.S. Botanical Garden (No. 16 on the map) appeared near the east end of the Mall between the Washington City Canal and the Capitol (later between 1st and 3rd Streets NW and SW).
Originating during the early 1800s as a collection of market stalls immediately north of the Washington City Canal and the Mall, the Center Market (No. 19 on the map), which Adolf Cluss also designed, opened in 1872 soon after the canal closed. Located on the north side of Constitution Avenue NW, the National Archives now occupies the Market's site.
During that period, railroad tracks crossed the Mall on 6th Street, west of the Capitol. Near the tracks, several structures were built over the years. The Baltimore and Potomac Railroad station (B on the map) rose in 1873 on the north side of the Mall at the southwest corner of 6th Street and B Street NW (now the site of the west building of the National Gallery of Art).
In 1881, the Arts and Industries Building (No. 34 on the map), known orginally as the National Museum Building, opened on the north side of B Street SW to the east of "The Castle". Designed in 1876 by Adolf Cluss and his associates, the building is the second oldest still standing on the National Mall (proper).
Meanwhile, in order to clean up the Potomac Flats and to make the Potomac River more navigable, in 1882 Congress authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the river. The Corps used the sediment removed from the shipping channel to fill in the flats. The work started in 1882 and continued until 1911, creating the Tidal Basin and 628 new acres of land. Part of the new land, which become West Potomac Park, expanded the Mall southward and westward (see 1893 map above).
Looking east from the top of the Washington Monument towards the United States Capitol in the summer of 1901. The Mall exhibited the Victorian-era landscape of winding paths and random plantings that Andrew Jackson Downing designed in the 1850s
The Armory as a hospital during the Civil War
Department of Agriculture Building (circa 1895)
Center Market circa 1875, looking northwest from The Mall
Center Market between 1910 and 1930, looking southwest from 7th Street NW (at left)
Arts and Industries Building, looking southwest (March 2017)
Baltimore and Potomac Railroad station, looking southwest from 6th Street NW (at bottom and left)
Army Medical Museum and Library, looking northeast from Independence Avenue SW
The National Mall was the centerpiece of the 1902 McMillan Plan. A central open vista traversed the length of the Mall.
In 1902, the McMillan Commission's plan, which was partially inspired by the City Beautiful Movement and which purportedly extended L'Enfant's plan, called for a radical redesign of the Mall that would replace its greenhouses, gardens, trees, and commercial/industrial facilities with an open space. The plan differed from L'Enfant's by replacing the 400 feet (120 m) wide "grand avenue" with a 300 feet (91 m) wide vista containing a long and broad expanse of grass.
Four rows of American elm trees (Ulmus americana) planted fifty feet apart between two paths or streets would line each side of the vista. Buildings housing cultural and educational institutions constructed in the Beaux-Arts style would line each outer path or street, on the opposite side of the path or street from the elms.
In subsequent years, the vision of the McMillan plan was generally followed with the planting of American elms and the layout of four boulevards down the Mall, two on either side of a wide lawn. In accordance with a plan that it completed in 1976, the NPS converted the two innermost boulevards (Washington Drive NW and Adams Drive SW) into gravel walking paths. The two outermost boulevards (Madison Drive NW and Jefferson Drive SW)) remain paved and open to vehicular traffic.
Temporary war buildings
During World War I and II, the federal government constructed a number of temporary buildings (tempos) on the Mall, disrupting the area's planned layout. Most of these buildings were in two clusters: one near the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and the other on the National Mall (proper) in the vicinity of 4th through 7th Streets NW and SW.
World War I temporary buildings
Eastward view of the National Mall from the top of the Washington Monument in 1918. The three structures and two chimneys crossing the Mall are temporary World War I buildings A, B and C and parts of their central power plant.
The United States entered World War I in April 1917. By 1918, a row of tempos designated from north to south as Buildings A, B, and C had stretched across the Mall along the east side of the former railroad route on 6th Street. The smokestacks of the buildings' centrally-located power plant were set apart to preserve the view of the Washington Monument from the Capitol building. Soon afterwards, the government constructed Buildings D, E and F to the east and west of the row.
Around 1921 (when the United States and Germany signed the U.S.-German Peace Treaty, thus formally ending the war between the two nations), the government demolished Buildings A and B. The remaining tempos held offices of several agencies belonging to the Agriculture, Commerce, Treasury and War Departments for a number of years after the war ended.
The government then slowly dismantled most of the tempos that had remained within the Mall (proper), removing the power plant and nearby buildings by 1936. Among those removed was Building C, which the government demolished between 1933 and 1936.
By 1937, the government had removed all of the World War I tempos that had been within the National Mall (proper) except for Building E, thus largely restoring the Mall's central vista. However, another World War I tempo, which the government constructed south of the Mall in 1919 between 14th Street SW and the Tidal Basin as the Liberty Loan Building, remained standing in 2019 while housing the Treasury Department's Bureau of the Fiscal Service.
Westward view from the top of the Washington Monument in 1943 or 1944 during World War II. In the foreground, temporary buildings on the Washington Monument grounds house the Navy's Bureau of Ships. The Main Navy and Munitions Buildings stand to the right of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. Temporary buildings to the left of the Reflecting Pool house the Navy's Bureau of Supplies and Accounts.
During World War II, the government constructed a larger set of temporary buildings on the Mall in the area of the former World War I tempos, along the south side of Constitution Avenue between 12th and 14th Streets NW, on the west side of the Washington Monument grounds, along the entire length of the south side of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and between the Reflecting Pool and the Main Navy and Munition buildings on the Pool's north side. Numbers identified new buildings built on the Monument grounds, while letters identified the remainder. The government also built dormitories, residence halls and facilities for dining and recreation south of the eastern half of the Mall and within the part of West Potomac Park that lay south of the Mall's western half.
The government progressively demolished all of the World War II tempos beginning in 1964. After the government removed the Main Navy and Munitions buildings in 1970, much of their former sites became Constitution Gardens, which was dedicated in 1976.
On October 15, 1966, the NPS listed the National Mall on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1981, the NPS prepared a National Register nomination form that documented the Mall's boundaries, features and historical significance.
Uncle Beazley on the National Mall between 1980 and 1994
National Park Service map showing the National Mall's designated reserve area referenced in the 2003 Commemorative Works Clarification and Revision Act
Barricade blocking walkway adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool during the 2013 federal government shutdown, looking east toward the Washington Monument undergoing repair
Aerial view of the Mall facing west between 1980 and 1999
Looking east from the top of the Washington Monument towards the National Mall and the United States Capitol in December 1999
In October 2013, a two-week federal government shutdown closed the National Mall and its museums and monuments. However, when a group of elderly veterans tried to enter the National World War II Memorial during the shutdown's first day, the memorial's barricades were removed. The NPS subsequently announced that the veterans had a legal right to be in the memorial and would not be barred in the future. During the shutdown's second week, the NPS permitted a controversial immigration rally and concert to take place on the Mall.
On December 8, 2016, the NPS listed on the National Register of Historic Places an increase in the National Mall Historic District's boundary to encompass an area bounded by 3rd Street, NW/SW, Independence Avenue, SW, Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW, the CSX Railroad, the Potomac River, Constitution Ave., NW, 17th Street, NW, the White House Grounds and 15th Street, NW. The listing's registration form, which contained 232 pages, described and illustrated the history and features of the historic district's proposed expanded area.
In combination with the other attractions in the Washington Metropolitan Area, the National Mall makes the nation's capital city one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. It has several other uses in addition to serving as a tourist focal point.
During presidential inaugurations, people without official tickets gather at the National Mall. Normally, the Mall between 7th and 14th Streets NW is used as a staging ground for the parade. On December 4, 2008, the Presidential Inaugural Committee (see: United States presidential inauguration organizers) announced, "for the first time, the entire length of the National Mall will be opened to the public so that more people than ever before will be able to witness the swearing-in of the president from a vantage point in sight of the Capitol." The Committee made this arrangement because of the massive attendance - projected to be as many as 2 million people - that it expected for the first inauguration of Barack Obama on January 20, 2009.
Despite the arrangement, a throng of people seeking access to the event climbed and then removed temporary protective fences around the Smithsonian's Mary Livingston Ripley Garden, six blocks from the site at which Obama took his inaugural oath. Hordes then trampled the garden's vegetation and elevated plant beds when entering and leaving the event. Others could not find a way to enter the Mall in time to view the ceremony.
A number of large free events recur annually on the Mall. A kite festival, formerly named the "Smithsonian Kite Festival" and now named the "Blossom Kite Festival", usually takes place each year on the Washington Monument grounds during the last weekend of March as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The event's organizers cancelled the 2020 kite festival, which they had earlier scheduled to take place on the Washington Monument grounds on Saturday, March 28, because of concerns related the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
An Earth Day celebration often takes place on the Mall around April 22. A week-long series of rallies, exhibits, observances and performances occurred on the Mall from April 17 to April 25, 2010 to commemorate Earth Day's 40th anniversary. The final day's events featured performances by Sting, Mavis Staples, The Roots, John Legend and others.
The National Symphony Orchestra presents each year its Labor Day Capitol Concert on the west lawn of the United States Capitol during the evening of the Sunday before Labor Day (the first Monday of September).
The April 9, 1939, concert by Marian Anderson, facing east from the Lincoln Memorial
The 1976 United States Bicentennial celebration provided the motivation for planning to accommodate large numbers of expected visitors to the National Mall. A number of major memorials were added to the Mall throughout that period. On May 21, 1976, Constitution Gardens was dedicated. On July 1, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum opened. On July 4, the Bicentennial fireworks display on the Mall attracted one million viewers, making it second only to the 1965 presidential inauguration of Lyndon B. Johnson as the largest event in the Mall's history up to that time.
Watt said that "rock bands" that had performed on the Mall on Independence Day in 1981 and 1982 had encouraged drug use and alcoholism and had attracted "the wrong element", who would mug individuals and families attending any similar events in the future. Watt then announced that Las Vegas crooner Wayne Newton, a friend and supporter of President Ronald Reagan and a contributor to Republican Party political campaigns, would perform at the Mall's 1983 Independence Day celebration.
During the ensuing uproar, Rob Grill, lead singer of The Grass Roots, stated that he felt "highly insulted" by Watt's remarks, which he called "nothing but un-American". The Beach Boys stated that the Soviet Union, which had invited them to perform in Leningrad in 1978, "obviously .... did not feel that the group attracted the wrong element".Vice PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush said of The Beach Boys, "They're my friends and I like their music".
On July 3, 1983, thousands attended a heavily policed "Rock Against Reagan" concert that the hardcore punk rock band, Dead Kennedys, performed on the Mall in response to Watt's action. When Newton entered an Independence Day stage on the Mall on July 4, members of his audience booed. Watt apologized to The Beach Boys, First LadyNancy Reagan apologized for Watt, and in 1984 The Beach Boys gave an Independence Day concert on the Mall to an audience of 750,000 people.
Britney Spears performs during the "NFL Kickoff Live from the National Mall Presented by Pepsi Vanilla" concert, September 4, 2003
Occurring once every two to three years on the Mall in the early fall from 2002 to 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon displayed solar-powered houses that competitive collegiate teams designed, constructed and operated. Igniting a controversy, the Department of Energy (DOE) decided to move the 2011 Decathlon off the Mall, claiming that this would support an effort to protect, improve and restore the park. Federal officials stated that heavy equipment that had placed two-story houses on the Mall during earlier Decathlons had cracked walkways and killed grass to a greater extent than had most other Mall events.
On February 4, 2011, a Washington Post editorial criticized attempts to have President Obama restore the Decathlon to the Mall. Nevertheless, by February 12, 2011, at least thirteen U.S. senators had signed a letter asking the DOE to reconsider its decision. On February 23, 2011, the DOE and the Department of the Interior announced that the 2011 Solar Decathlon would take place along Ohio Drive southeast of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in West Potomac Park. The event took place in the Park from September 23 through October 2, 2011. The 2013 Decathlon took place in California instead of Washington.
A four-day exhibition took place each year on the Mall during Public Service Recognition Week (the first full week of May) until 2010. Government agencies participating in the event sponsored exhibits that displayed the works of public employees and that enabled visitors to learn about government programs and initiatives, discuss employee benefits, and interact with agency representatives. However, the 2011 United States federal budget (Public Law 112-10), which was belatedly enacted on April 15, 2011, contained no funding for that year's event, forcing the event's cancellation. The event did not take place in 2012.
The Concert for Valor on the National Mall on November 11, 2014, looking west from the United States Capitol grounds
The inaugural USA Science and Engineering Festival Expo took place on the National Mall and surrounding areas on October 23 and 24, 2010. More than 1,500 free interactive exhibits reportedly drew about 500,000 people to the event, which had over 75 performances. The second Expo took place on April 28-29, 2012, in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
The annual Screen on the Green movie festival took place on the Mall on Monday nights during July and August for 17 years until 2015. Free classic movies were projected on large portable screens and typically drew crowds of thousands of people. Organizers cancelled the event in 2016 when the event's sponsors (HBO and Comcast) terminated their support, stating that they needed their resources for other projects.
Improvements and future plans
National Mall Plan
From 2006 through 2010, the NPS conducted a public process that created a plan for the future of the National Mall. On July 13, 2010, the NPS issued in the Federal Register a notice of availability of a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the National Mall Plan. The two-volume final EIS responded to comments and incorporated changes to a draft EIS for the Plan.
On November 9, 2010, the NPS and the Department of the Interior issued a Record of Decision (ROD) that completed the planning process. The ROD contains a summary of the selected alternative, which is the basis for the Plan, together with mitigation measures developed to minimize environmental harm; other alternatives considered; the basis for the decision in terms of planning objectives and the criteria used to develop the preferred alternative; a finding of no impairment of park resources and values; the environmentally preferable alternative; and the public and agency involvement.
The Plan proposed several changes to the Mall. The NPS would construct a vast expanse of paved surface in Union Square at the east end of the Mall to accommodate demonstrations and other events by reducing the size of the Capitol Reflecting Pool or by replacing the pool with a fountain or other minor water feature. Additional proposed changes included the replacement of the Sylvan Theater on the Washington Monument grounds with a facility containing offices, restaurants, and restrooms, as well as the replacement of an open space near the east end of Constitution Gardens with a multipurpose visitor facility containing food service, retail, and restrooms.
On March 1, 2012, the NCPC discussed a proposal that, when implemented, reduced the Mall's green space by widening and paving most of the north-south walkways that cross the Mall between Seventh and Fourteenth Streets. The project also replaced with gravel large areas of grass that were located near the Smithsonian Metro Station and the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden.
On September 8, 2011, the Trust for the National Mall and the NPS announced an open competition for a redesign of the spaces on the National Mall that Union Square, the Sylvan Theater grounds and the Constitution Gardens lake now occupy. Former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush agreed to be the honorary co-chair of a drive to raise funds for the three projects.
On April 9, 2012, the Trust for the National Mall announced the ideas for the redesign of Union Square, the Sylvan Theater grounds and Constitution Gardens lake area that finalists in the competition had submitted. The Trust asked the public to submit online comments that the competition jury would consider when evaluating each design. The Trust announced the winners of the competition on May 2, 2012. Groundbreaking for the first project was expected to take place by 2014, with the first ribbon-cutting ceremony by 2016.
On October 1, 2015, the NCPC approved preliminary and final site and building plans that the NPS had submitted for the first phase rehabilitation of Constitution Gardens. Plans included the relocation and rehabilitation of the Lockkeeper's House, C & O Canal Extension, a new entry plaza at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 17th Street, NW, landscaping, a meadow and pollinator habitat and a new perimeter garden wall. A temporary path would connect to an existing plaza located at the eastern end of Constitution Garden's lake.
The NPS began to implement the first phase rehabilitation of Constitution Gardens in 2017. A Park Service contractor moved the Lockkeeper's House, C & O Canal Extension, southward and westward away from Constitution Avenue, NW and 17th Street, NW while retaining the structure's east-west orientation. The NPS restored the building's exterior to the conditions that had existed before the building was modified during 1915 and earlier years. The NPS also replaced the structure's brick chimneys, thus restoring the building to its original 1800s appearance. The building reopened temporarily in late August 2018 and permanently on September 13 of that year. The structure now serves in its new location as an NPS education center.
Reconstruction and restoration
From 2010 to 2012, NPS contractors rebuilt the aging Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, which had first been constructed in the early 1920s and whose water had come from the pipes that supply Washington, D.C., with its drinking water. As a result of the project, the pool now receives filtered water from the Tidal Basin through a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipeline.
The NPS then began a four-year restoration of the portion of the central axis of the Mall that lies between 3rd Street and 14th Street. By 2016, the restoration project had completely replaced the deteriorated and weedy turf that had previously covered much of that part of the Mall with a new cover containing soil, fescue (Festuca) and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis).
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool before reconstruction (April 2010)
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool undergoing reconstruction (June 2011)
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool undergoing reconstruction (December 2011)
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool after reconstruction (May 2016)
Axis of National Mall before restoration (July 2012)
Axis of National Mall undergoing restoration (April 2015)
Axis of National Mall undergoing restoration (October 2015)
Axis of National Mall after restoration (September 2016)
The NPS provides parking facilities for bicycles near each of the major memorials as well as along the National Mall. From March to October, an NPS concessionaire rents out bicycles at the Thompson Boat Center, located near the intersection of Virginia Avenue NW and Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway, 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the Lincoln Memorial along the Potomac River-Rock Creek Trail. The first two of five approved Capital Bikeshare stations opened on the National Mall on March 16, 2012, shortly before the start of the 2012 National Cherry Blossom Festival.
The use of an electric scooter or a Segway falls under the NPS definition of recreational use of a self-propelled vehicle. People without identified disabilities can only use such vehicles on park roadways. NPS rules, therefore, prohibit people without disabilities from using electric scooters and Segways on sidewalks and paths within the National Mall and its memorials.
Several companies rent out electric scooters within the District of Columbia. However, the National Mall is outside of those companies' service areas. Some such companies, therefore, charge fines for people who end their rides on the Mall. Others do not allow people to end their trips until they have left the area.
The NPS licenses pedicab drivers to provide transportation and tours of the National Mall through its Commercial Use Authorization program.
Motor vehicle parking
General visitor parking is available along Ohio Drive SW, between the Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson Memorials. Bus parking is available primarily along Ohio Drive, SW, near the Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson Memorials, and along Ohio Drive SW, in East Potomac Park. There is limited handicapped parking at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt and World War II Memorials and near the Washington Monument and the Thomas Jefferson, Lincoln, Korean War Veterans, and Vietnam Veterans Memorials; otherwise, parking is extremely scarce in and near the Mall.
In April 2017, the NPS awarded a contract for the installation of parking meters on streets and in parking areas on the Mall. On June 12, 2017, the NPS and the District of Columbia Department of Public Works began to enforce metered parking on approximately 1,100 parking spaces in which motorists could previously park without charge.
On July 1, 2021, an EF1 tornado formed in Arlington County, Virginia at 8:59 p.m., crossed the Potomac River near the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge, and traveled eastward along the National Mall before dissipating near 16th Street NW and Constitution Avenue south of the White House and The Ellipse, 4.4 mi (7 km) from where it had started. Its maximum winds were 90 mph (145 km/h), and it was as wide as 125 yards (114 m). The National Weather Service reported that wind damage to trees on the Mall "was prominent from 23rd St NW east for 0.75 mi (1.2 km) to near 16th Street NW south of The Ellipse". The weather service stated that the tornado lifted up and twisted temporary fencing installed on the Mall for the upcoming July 4 Independence Day celebration. The fencing landed in a "mangled and haphazard manner" before the twister dissipated at 9:05 p.m.
^"Update on the National Mall Plan". Enriching Your American Experience: The National Mall Plan. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. 2010. Archived from the original on August 3, 2016. Retrieved 2016..
^"Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2012"(PDF). Public Law 112-74, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012. United States Government Printing Office. December 23, 2011. p. 125 STAT. 1129. Archived(PDF) from the original on July 10, 2012. Retrieved 2012. TRANSFER TO ARCHITECT OF THE CAPITOL Sec. 1202. (a) Transfer.--To the extent that the Director of the National Park Service has jurisdiction and control over any portion of the area described in subsection (b) and any monument or other facility which is located within such area, such jurisdiction and control is hereby transferred to the Architect of the Capitol as of the date of the enactment of this Act. (b) Area Described.--The area described in this subsection is the property which is bounded on the north by Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, on the east by First Street Northwest and First Street Southwest, on the south by Maryland Avenue Southwest, and on the west by Third Street Southwest and Third Street Northwest..
^ abc"Come see the restored Lockkeeper's House". Lockkeeper's House. Washington, D.C.: Trust for the National Mall. Archived from the original on April 4, 2019. Retrieved 2020. The Lockkeeper's House -- the oldest structure on the National Mall -- has been relocated and restored as part of a major project that has transformed the site with a new visitor-friendly entrance, surrounding outdoor plaza and educational displays. Previously located just inches from heavy traffic at the corner of 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, the house was lifted and moved about 20 feet from the road. Untouched for more than 40 years, the 180-year old structure now welcomes visitors from around the world to the National Mall..
^"The National Mall"(PDF). District of Columbia Inventory of Historic Sites: Alphabetical Version. Historic Preservation Office, Office of Planning, Government of the District of Columbia. 2009. pp. 103-104. Archived(PDF) from the original on November 4, 2009. Retrieved 2010..
^(1) "Uncle Beazley". Histories of the National Mall. Fairfax, Virginia: Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University. Archived from the original on April 16, 2016. Retrieved 2016.. (2) "Uncle Beazley on the Mall". Historic Images of the Smithsonian. Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. 1976. Archived from the original on August 15, 2016. Retrieved 2016.. (3) Goode, James M. (1974). "Chapter 12: Uncle Beazley". The Outdoor Sculpture of Washington, D.C.: A Comprehensive Historical Guide. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. p. 260. ISBN9780881032338. OCLC2610663. Archived from the original on June 12, 2017. Retrieved 2016 – via Google Books. This 25-foot long replica of a Triceratops ... was placed on the Mall in 1967. ... The full-size Triceratops replica and eight other types of dinosaurs were designed by two prominent paleontologists, Dr. Barnum Brown of the American Museum of Natural History, in New York City, and Dr. John Ostrom of the Peabody Museum, in Peabody, Massachusetts. The sculptor, Louis Paul Jonas, executed these prehistoric animals in fiberglass, after the designs of Barnum and Ostrom, for the Sinclair Refining Company's Pavilion at the New York World's Fair of 1964. After the Fair closed, the nine dinosaurs, which weighed between 2 and 4 tons each, were placed on trucks and taken on a tour of the eastern United States. The Sinclair Refining Company promoted the tour for public relations and advertising purposes, since their trademark was the dinosaur. In 1967, the nine dinosaurs were given to various American museums.
This particular replica was used for the filming of The Enormous Egg, a movie made by the National Broadcasting Company for television, based on a children's book of the same name by Oliver Buttersworth. The movie features an enormous egg, out of which hatches a baby Tricerotops; the boy consults with the Smithsonian Institution which accepts Uncle Beasley for the National Zoo.
^ abNukols, Ben (January 18, 2017). "Inaugural crowds sure to be huge _ but how huge?". The Big Story. Associated Press. Archived from the original on February 13, 2017. Retrieved 2017. IT STARTS WITH THE MILLION MAN MARCH ..... The agency still estimates crowd size for its own planning purposes, but does not publicly reveal the figures. "No matter what we said or did, no one ever felt we gave a fair estimate," U.S. Park Police Maj. J.J. McLaughlin, who had been in charge of coordinating crowd estimates, said in 1996 when the agency confirmed it would no longer count heads..
^(1) Goodier, Rob (September 12, 2001). "The Curious Science of Counting a Crowd". Popular Mechanics. Archived from the original on September 5, 2016. Retrieved 2016. For its part, the National Park Service tries to stay above the fray by not estimating crowd sizes. It stopped providing head counts after the organizers of the 1995 Million Man March accused the service of underestimating their crowd.. (2) McKenna, Dave (January 16, 2009). "The 3 to 5 Million Man March: Crowd estimates could lead to post-swearing-in swearing, history shows". Washington City Paper. Archived from the original on September 19, 2016. Retrieved 2016. Street hasn't been asked to come up with an official estimate for any D.C. event in a long while. And that 1991 manual is currently not used by his agency. Street and the Park Service, in fact, have been specifically barred by an act of Congress from divulging official crowd estimates--but only for D.C. gatherings. 'Ever since the Million Man March,' he says. 'That changed things.'.
^Sheridan, Mary (January 20, 2009). "Officials: Too Many Tickets for Blue, Purple Areas". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on May 18, 2019. Retrieved 2021. Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance W. Gainer estimated that several thousand people with blue and purple tickets could not get into the designated sections. "It does appear that maybe there were more tickets in purple and blue than bulky people in coats would permit," he said.
^(1) Smith, R.J. (February 1, 2000). "Punk Rock On Trial". Dead Kennedys News. Archived from the original on October 22, 2002. Retrieved 2015. It was surely the biggest show of Dead Kennedys' career, and Ronald Reagan made it all possible. In 1983, one of his cabinet members canceled a fourth of July Beach Boys concert on federal grounds in Washington, D.C., fearing the band would bring the wrong element to the capital. The move looked like crackbrained politics on every level – the administration appeared painfully out of touch (banning the Beach Boys?), and the official who canned the show didn't even realize that the band was publicly down with the Reagans.
This was political theater of the absurd, and it was therefore a place where Dead Kennedys felt exceedingly at home. The San Francisco foursome took action, putting together a punk-rock festival on the Mall, the expanse of lawn stretching between the Washington Monument and the Capitol building. They were goading the government to try to stop them. Instead, thousands of punks filled the grounds that day, and skinny DK's frontman Jello Biafra greeted them by comparing the Monument to a giant hooded Klansman. As he jumped around like an insane marionette to their ornery punkability, government helicopters hovered over the stage and D.C. cops nervously patrolled the edge of the throng.
^(1) "Timeline". The Beach Boys (Capitol Records). Archived from the original on March 27, 2010. Retrieved 2010. (2) "The Beach Boys Bio". Yuddy. Archived from the original on December 4, 2008. Retrieved 2012. (3) Harrington, Richard (June 6, 1984). "Back to the Beach Boys: Rock Returns to Mall For the Fourth of July; Beach Boys to Perform On the Mall July 4". The Washington Post. p. B.1.
^(1) "Message concerning passage of Senate amendment to HR2691, 108th United States Congress". National Coalition to Save Our Mall. September 24, 2003. Archived from the original on November 30, 2012. Retrieved 2012. (2) "Sec. 145"(PDF). Public Law 108-108: Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2004. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. November 10, 2003. pp. 117 Stat. 1280-117 Stat. 1281. Archived from the original(PDF) on February 2, 2014. Retrieved 2012. SEC. 145. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this or any other Act, hereafter enacted, may be used to permit the use of the National Mall for a special event, unless the permit expressly prohibits the erection, placement, or use of structures and signs bearing commercial advertising. The Secretary may allow for recognition of sponsors of special events: Provided, That the size and form of the recognition shall be consistent with the special nature and sanctity of the Mall and any lettering or design identifying the sponsor shall be no larger than one-third the size of the lettering or design identifying the special event. In approving special events, the Secretary shall ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that public use of, and access to the Mall is not restricted. For purposes of this section, the term special event shall have the meaning given to it by section 7.96(g)(1)(ii) of title 36, Code of Federal Regulations.
^(1) Jaffe, Harry (August 31, 2008). "National Mall marked as midpoint of national bike trail". Washington Examiner. Archived from the original on March 14, 2021. Retrieved 2021. (2) "Washington, D.C."East Coast Greenway. 2016. Archived from the original on March 14, 2021. Retrieved 2021. (3) "About the Greenway". East Coast Greenway. 2015. Archived from the original on November 8, 2015. Retrieved 2016. The East Coast Greenway, conceived in 1991, is the nation's most ambitious long-distance urban trail. By connecting existing and planned shared-use trails, a continuous, traffic-free route is being formed, serving self-powered users of all abilities and ages. At 2,900 miles long, the Greenway links Calais, Maine, at the Canadian border, with Key West, Florida. Alternate routes add another 2,000 miles to the ECG trail system.
^(1) "Services for Disabled Visitors"(PDF). A Review of Access and Circulation on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Arlington County, Virginia: George Mason UniversitySchar School of Policy and Government. May 7, 2008. p. 31. Archived(PDF) from the original on September 5, 2019. Retrieved 2019. Persons with disabilities are permitted to use such devices as Segway HTs and electric scooters on all National Park roads, sidewalks, and trails. These mobility-assisting devices are also permitted within all park facilities, including memorials and monuments. However, for visitors with limited mobility but no identified disability, the use of these devices falls under the definition of recreational use of a self-propelled vehicle and can only be used on park roadways. (2) "§ 1.4 What terms do I need to know?". Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR): Title 36 - Parks, Forests, and Public Prioperty. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Publishing Office. September 3, 2019. Archived from the original on July 6, 2017. Retrieved 2019. Motor vehicle means every vehicle that is self-propelled and every vehicle that is propelled by electric power, but not operated on rails or upon water, except a snowmobile and a motorized wheelchair. ... Vehicle means every device in, upon, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on land, except snowmobiles and devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or track.
^ ab"Rules for riding scooters in DC". DC TripHacks: Scooters in DC: Things you Should Know. Trip Hacks Travel LLC. 2019. Archived from the original on September 5, 2019. Retrieved 2019. 3. You can't end your trip outside of the company's service area: The National Mall is not part of the service areas. This is important because many visitors see the scooters and consider them a great way to see the monuments and memorials. However, be careful! Some scooter companies will charge you a hefty fine if you end your ride on the National Mall. Others might not even allow you to end a trip at all until you leave the area. If you do plan to break this one, don't ride the scooters in the memorials. It is not just illegal but it's totally disrespectful and obnoxious, especially the war memorials.