Winning Entry to the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Competition by John Russell Pope, 1925
Today, the Jefferson Memorial, also designed by Pope, occupies the very same site. As opposed to an open plaza, the memorial is a solid, neoclassical structure that breaks the line of sight from the White House to the Potomac River.
So, how did this happen? Well, many people thought that it was too soon after Teddy Roosevelt’s death to create a memorial to him. In 1931, the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association purchased the 88.5-acre Analostan Island in the Potomac River and turned it into a public park instead, in keeping with Roosevelt’s avid support for the natural environment. (A statue of the president, stones with some of his quotations and two smaller fountains were erected on the island in the 1960s.) Soon thereafter, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt pushed for the memorial to Thomas Jefferson on the Tidal Basin.