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The National Building Museum's terra-cotta exterior frieze is 1,200 feet long and 3 feet high. Designed by Bohemian-born sculptor Caspar Buberl, it features a parade of Civil War military units.
The National Building Museum's terra-cotta exterior frieze is 1,200 feet long and 3 feet high. Designed by Bohemian-born sculptor Caspar Buberl, it features a parade of Civil War military units.
 

Civil War to Civil Rights: Historical Figures

From imposing monuments to Metro stops, Civil War history is everywhere in Washington, DC.

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Trace the history of the Civil War via its greatest leaders and generals with these top 10 spots that showcase Washington, DC’s role in the war.

1. Lincoln Memorial: Visitors can pay tribute to the Civil War-era president with a stop at one of DC's most famous memorials.

2. President Lincoln’s Cottage: Although just a few miles from the White House, this cottage was used as the Lincoln family summer "retreat" during his presidency. Tour the home and visitor center to get a glimpse into Lincoln'spersonal history.

3. Arlington House: Home to Robert E. Lee, one of the most famous Confederate generals, this historic home - located at Arlington National Cemetery - also has ties to George Washington.

4. Grant Memorial: Located at the base of the U.S. Capitol Building, the Grant Memorial shows the Union general atop his horse. The memorial faces the Lincoln Memorial in a nod to Grant's wartime president. Fun fact: The Grant Memorial is the second largest equestrian statue in the United States.

5. Howard University: Explore this beautiful college campus, which was named for General Oliver Otis Howard, founder of the university and commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau.

6. Dupont Circle: Named for Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont, the bustling circling was originally supposed to include a statue. It was originally commissioned in his honor, but was moved to Delaware and replaced by a fountain designed by Daniel French, who also designed the Lincoln Memorial.

7. The Presidents Gallery by Madame Tussauds: Kids love this family-friendly museum, where you can get up close and personal with many historical figures, including Lincoln, Grant and Martin Luther King, Jr.

8. White House: The centerpiece for much of the nation's history, the White House has been home to the president through every turbulent period in history.

9. Farragut Square: This downtown neighborhood and Metro stop is named for Admiral David Farragut, famous for his quote "Damn the torpedoes! Full steam ahead."

10. Shaw Memorial at the National Gallery of Art: The National Gallery is home to a powerful memorial created by Auguste Saint-Gaudens to honor one of the first African American units of the Civil War, led by Robert Gould Shaw and immortalized in the film "Glory."

The seated Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial is 19 feet high and weighs 175 tons.
The seated Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial is 19 feet high and weighs 175 tons. - Photo by Destination DC
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