National Park Service

Renovated Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool Reopens

Photo of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

NPS Photo

Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

September 2012

The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool is once again glistening with water with its $34 million rehabilitation project completed. The pool had been closed since 2010 to reconstruct both the pool and surrounding landscape.

The original pool, built in the 1920s, sank significantly over the years, causing cracks and leaks. It required about 30 million gallons of municipal water to maintain it annually and needed to be drained, cleaned, and refilled twice a year.

The new pool has a new water circulating system, with its water pumped from the Tidal Basin, filtered, and treated prior to entering the reconstructed pool. This new system continuously circulates and treats the water using ozonation, a natural water treatment process requiring no chemicals. The new pool is shallower than the original and will use one third less water to operate. The pool maintains its cultural integrity with 580 granite stones from the original pool used in their same locations along its edges and remains within the structure’s original footprint. Tinted concrete was used to improve the reflectivity of the water.

“We are thrilled to make this iconic landmark available to our 25 million visitors each year. It’s been sorely missed,” said Bob Vogel, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks. “Walking through the historic Elm Walk really makes you appreciate the grandeur of the National Mall and reminds people of the important historic events that have taken place here.”

The grounds of the Reflecting Pool were also upgraded, with new concrete sidewalks in place of the gravel paths adjacent to the pool to improve the visitor experience and reduce soil erosion. The lighting along the Elm Walks have been replaced with energy efficient, dark sky compliant lighting.

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