With opening just months away, Eisenhower memorial takes shape

Eisenhower memorial construction site
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial site — chosen from 27 locations — sits just across from the National Mall on Independence Avenue. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

It has been nearly two years since construction began on the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial. And on Tuesday, a behind-the-scenes look revealed what has gone into the project and what’s to come.

The memorial site — chosen from 27 locations — sits just across from the National Mall on Independence Avenue. It is also surrounded by President Eisenhower’s legacy.

The Department of Health and Human Services, the successor of the Health, Education, and Welfare Department, began under Eisenhower and sits nearby. On the west side is the Federal Aviation Administration, an agency that also began under Eisenhower. Just across the street is the National Air and Space Museum. NASA also began under his presidency.

“I don’t think you could’ve found another site in this city with agencies that really began under his administration,” said Victoria Tigwell, the deputy executive director of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.

The 4-acre site will feature bronze statues of Eisenhower during his time as president and as a child, hand-engraved Spanish stone and a green space.

Rendering of Eisenhower memorial
“It’s really kind of a city park,” said Victoria Tigwell, the deputy executive director of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission. “I hope people will come and eat lunch, but then come and walk into the reflective area and think about what his contributions mean for us today.” (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

It will also feature six columns, each standing 80 feet tall and 9 feet wide. Stretched across these stones will be a tapestry made of 604 woven panels that feature 600 miles of stainless steel. The image created on the tapestry is one of the landing places for American troops during the D-Day invasion.

The total cost of the project is about $145 million.

Jared Oldroyd, who is overseeing the project with Clark Construction, said it will be a unique memorial. Much of the project was created using reality capture tools to gather precise measurements.

“We’re nearly complete with the stone. The cable net system is about 60% complete, and we’ll start hanging the tapestry this fall,” he said. “It really is a global effort putting together a world-class memorial.”

Above all, Tigwell hopes this will serve as a space for visitors to enjoy their time and reflect on Eisenhower’s legacy.

“It’s really kind of a city park. I hope people will come and eat lunch, but then come and walk into the reflective area and think about what his contributions mean for us today.”

The memorial will open on May 8, the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day.

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