Did you know that there were once several Department of War buildings right on the National Mall? If you look at this picture, you will notice the Reflecting Pool is criss-crossed by two bridges that connect different Navy and War barracks and buildings. The photo was taken from the Washington Monument, and shows the “Temporary” home of many war related departments associated with the massive military buildup during World War Two.
The Pentagon was not completed until 1943, during the middle of the war, and many of the offices shown here are now located across the river. It was not until 1969, when the temporary construction methods began to deteriorate, that President Nixon had any remaining buildings on the National Mall demolished. It was only then that what we now know as the wonderful area between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial began to truly become the vision started with Pierre L’Enfant a few centuries ago.
See this area for yourself and learn a great deal more of the National Mall and its history on our National Mall Walking Tour.