Did you know that there is a 3-story, 43,800 square foot basement beneath the Lincoln Memorial? The National Park Service wants to rehab this space in time for the Memorial’s centennial in 2022.
Atlas Obscura tells us more:
Construction began on the Lincoln Memorial in 1914 on the muddy stretch of land known as the Potomac flats. The Army Corps of Engineers had just finished its 40-year-long dredging and landfill project that produced the shoreline we know today. Workers had to dig down 40 feet before work could begin on the marble monument. Here they poured dozens of concrete columns to support the surface structure.
The underground cathedral of concrete pillars was then simply forgotten about until renovations in 1975. According to the Washington Post, in preparation for the Bicentennial, the memorial’s bathrooms were renovated, and the construction crews started peering into the building’s foundation. They brought along their friends, some of whom belonged to the National Speleological Society. The cellar was deemed a cave, complete with stalactites and its own ecosystem (insects, rodents, etc).
Read the rest here.