Categories: Monuments & Landmarks

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial

It’s entirely appropriate that the memorial dedicated to Teddy Roosevelt is a little unkempt. America’s 26th president was famously a champion of the environment and an avid hunter and outdoorsman.

His memorial isn’t with the others on the National Mall, although it’s not far away. But you’d have to really be looking for it to find it. It’s on a small, overgrown island on the Potomac River just off the George Washington Parkway, across the river from the Kennedy Center and Georgetown.

At the memorial’s heart is a 17-foot-high bronze statue of Roosevelt posed as if speaking. The statue sits in a large paved plaza. Around the ends are four stone monoliths with key Roosevelt quotes. And there’s a large water ring around the plaza, although that’s not always in operation.

Interestingly, the island was not always as overgrown and unruly as it now appears. At the turn of the 19th century, the island, then called Analostan Island, was the property of General John Mason (son of George Mason). He built a neoclassical home surrounded by formal gardens, orchards, and sheep pastures. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Louis Philippe of France were all guests there. None of that original development remains. When the island become government property in the 1930s, the overgrown and run down remains were removed.1

Photos of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial

Photo by David Coleman

Detail of one of the large stone tablets behind the main statue. Photo by David Coleman

Photo by David Coleman

Photo by David Coleman

Photo by David Coleman

One of the large stone tablets that are laid out in an arc behind the main statue. This one reads: “The State / Ours is a government of liberty by, through, and under the law. A great democracy must be progressive or it will soon cease to be great or a democracy. Aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords. In popular government results worth while can only be achieved by men who combine worthy ideals with practical good sense. If I must choose between righteousness and peace, I choose righteousness.” Photo by David Coleman

Photo by David Coleman

How to Get to the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial

You can walk there from the Lincoln Memorial. Cross Memorial Bridge and take a right along the parkway path towards Georgetown. You’ll come across a parking lot and bridge across to the island.

You can also walk there from Georgetown. Cross Key Bridge into Arlington/Rosslyn and then take a left. The path will lead you to the Roosevelt Island parking lot.

For metro, Rosslyn station on the blue/orange line is closest.

Official Website

Official Website

Taking Photos at the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial

There’s no problem using a tripod or flash, but Roosevelt Island is closed at night.

Commercial shoots and filming may require a permit.

More Photos

You can find more of my photos of the Teddy Roosevelt Memorial here.

Nearby & Related:

Washington DC Visitor Guides

If you're coming in from out of town, here are some of the most popular guidebooks that can help you make the most of your visit.

Fodor's Washington D.C 25 Best 2021 (Full-color Travel Guide)
  • Fodor’s Travel Guides (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Lonely Planet Washington, DC 7 (City Guide)
  • Zimmerman, Karla (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Frommer's EasyGuide to Washington, D.C. 2020
  • Pratt, Meredith (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

And here are some interesting options for less traditional guidesbooks if you'd like an emphasis on exploring DC on foot or diving into some of the region's rich history.