Never Built: Proposed University on the National Mall in 1816

So this obviously never happened, but it’s a fascinating proposal for the National Mall, done in 1816. Can you imagine a university sitting where the Lincoln Memorial does today?

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Plan of the west end of the public appropriation in the city of Washington, called the Mall : as proposed to be arranged for the site of the university / to the Committee of the H. of R. of Congress, BHLatrobe, Surveyor of the City of Washington, Jan'y 1816.
Plan of the west end of the public appropriation in the city of Washington, called the Mall : as proposed to be arranged for the site of the university / to the Committee of the H. of R. of Congress, BHLatrobe, Surveyor of the City of Washington, Jan’y 1816.

Source: Library of Congress

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  • GWalum

    Just five years later in 1821 the Columbian College in the District of Columbia was chartered by Act of Congress. Columbian, now the George Washington University, holds its Commencement ceremony each year on the Mall, near this site – how appropriate!

  • HistoryDC

    That wouldn’t be where the Lincoln Memorial is today. In 1816, that second half of the Mall was the Potomac River. I think this is the current spot of the Washington Monument.