The Reflecting Pool has given Washington’s visitors a picturesque view of the area between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial since it opened in 1922. It was also the site of Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream Speech” in 1963.
For the past 20 months, the pool has been closed and completely redone as part of a $34 million project to install a new water supply, a tinted bottom, nighttime illumination and new sidewalks.
The site of the pool was under water until workers began expanding the National Mall area in the early 20th century by dumping silt they had dredged from the Potomac River.
Over ensuing decades, the settling land cracked the pool in several places, causing it to leak. Its water supply was also fetid — it has been popular with geese and has had large amounts of algae.
The National Park Service says the water now constantly circulates and is cleaned. Where the pool once lost an estimated 500,000 gallons of water per week as the result of leaks and evaporation, its new, leak-proof successor is better for the environment.
Above, the pool before the renovation (top) and after (bottom).
For more on Washington, see “Washington, D.C., at a Glance.”