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Building Marvels: Landmarks of the United States

The United States is full of landmarks that are symbols of American history and the American spirit. Some of these landmarks may be massive in size, sitting inside national parks. Other landmarks are simpler in nature, like a building or a battlefield. Over the course of history, the United States has created a large collection of landmarks that honor important people or events or are just plain impressive.

  • White House: The original White House took eight years to build, and then the British set it on fire. President James Monroe was the first president to live in the rebuilt White House, in 1817.
  • Statue of Liberty: France gave the United States the Statue of Liberty, and it was dedicated on Oct. 28, 1886. The Statue of Liberty became a national monument in 1924.
  • Staten Island Ferry: The Staten Island Ferry offers tourists a free ride from Lower Manhattan to Staten Island, where they can see the Statue of Liberty.
  • Hoover Dam: The Hoover Dam, in Nevada, took workers nearly five years to build. The Hoover Dam uses water from the Colorado River to make electricity.
  • Golden Gate Bridge: The Golden Gate Bridge opened for the first time on May 27, 1937. This massive suspension bridge is 1.7 miles long, and it sits between San Francisco and Marin County.
  • Lincoln Memorial: The Lincoln Memorial sits on the National Mall, located in Washington, D.C. It took eight years to build the Lincoln Memorial, and it was finished in 1922.
  • Washington Monument: The Washington Monument is a memorial to President George Washington. At 555 feet, the Washington Monument is the world’s tallest stone structure that stands alone.
  • Jefferson Memorial (PDF): The Jefferson Memorial is also on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This tribute to Thomas Jefferson opened to the public in 1943.
  • Arlington National Cemetery (PDF): Arlington National Cemetery is located in Virginia, and it includes the Tomb of the Unknowns. The cemetery is 612 acres in size, and about 230,000 veterans and their family members are buried there.
  • Empire State Building: The Empire State Building is located in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. The building opened to the public on May 1, 1931, and it is known for its height as well as the colored lights that illuminate the top of it at night.
  • Times Square (PDF): Situated in central Manhattan, New York City, Times Square got its name when The New York Times moved its headquarters to this spot in 1904. Times Square is a hub of activity while also serving as a symbol of America.
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial: Sculptor Gutzon Borglum chose the Black Hills in South Dakota as the spot for Mount Rushmore. It took 14 years and 350 people to carve four presidents’ faces on Mount Rushmore.
  • Ellis Island: Ellis Island in New York City was the point of entry for many immigrants entering the United States between the years of 1892 and 1924. Fire destroyed the first immigration station in 1897, and the current station was opened in 1900.
  • Alcatraz: Alcatraz Island is located in the San Francisco Bay. At first, the island was used to house military prisoners. Then, in 1933, it was transferred to the Department of Justice as a maximum-security federal prison. The most serious criminals went to Alcatraz until it closed in 1963.
  • Gateway Arch: The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, is the tallest monument in the United States. Standing 630 feet tall, the Arch was finished in 1968.
  • National September 11 Memorial: The National September 11 Memorial honors the people who were killed in the 2001 and 1993 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. Two huge reflecting pools with man-made waterfalls sit in the spots where the Twin Towers used to be.
  • Brooklyn Bridge: The Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883, connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City. At the time it was built, the Brooklyn Bridge was the tallest steel suspension bridge on Earth.
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial (PDF): The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., was dedicated on Nov. 13, 1982, to honor the service and memory of men and women who died in the Vietnam War. This memorial includes two walls that meet at a point to form a “V.”
  • USS Arizona Memorial: The USS Arizona sunk in Pearl Harbor as a result of a Japanese attack. The USS Arizona Memorial sits over the wreckage, memorializing the men and women who died in that attack.
  • Space Needle: The Space Needle in Seattle, Washington, was built in 1962 in connection with the World’s Fair. When the Space Needle was first built, it was an orange color called “galaxy gold.”
  • Willis Tower: Willis Tower used to be called the Sears Tower, and it is in downtown Chicago. The Willis Tower is 1,729 feet tall, and when it was first built, it was the tallest building in the world.
  • Grand Central Station: Grand Central Station in New York City is a famous train station. If you look up when you’re inside, you will see constellations painted on the domed ceiling, which include electric lights to make up their stars.
  • Temple Square: The Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah, took 40 years to build. The temple sits on 10 acres, and it is the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
  • Cape Hatteras Light: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is in North Carolina, and it was built in 1869. This lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse made out of bricks in America.
  • Crazy Horse Memorial: The Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota is a memorial that was carved out of the Black Hills. This memorial is a tribute to Native Americans.
  • Antietam National Battlefield: Antietam was the Civil War battle with the highest number of casualties in the 12 hours of fighting. This national battlefield includes monuments honoring those that died, including six generals who were killed in this battle.
  • Ha’iku Stairs: The Ha’iku Stairs are part of a hiking trail on Oahu, Hawaii. Hikers climbing the 3,922 steel steps to the top will have climbed 2,300 feet in altitude.
  • Parthenon: The Parthenon is a replica of the Greek Parthenon, and it stands in Centennial Park in Nashville, Tennessee. An art museum is inside the Parthenon.
  • Cloud Gate: Anish Kapoor designed Cloud Gate, popularly called “The Bean,” in Chicago’s Millennium Park. This sculpture weights 110 tons, and it is 33 feet high and 66 feet long.
  • Fallingwater: Situated in the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania, Fallingwater is a building that sits on top of a waterfall.


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