National Mall and Memorial Parks | CONSTITUTION GARDENS

Pond at Constitution Gardens

Pond at Constitution Gardens

Located on the National Mall just east of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Constitution Gardens is a small memorial that honors the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. A garden and small pond were dedicated in time for the 1976 U. S. Bicentennial, but the actual memorial, called the Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence, was not added until 1984. At this time Constitution Gardens became its own National Park unit, though it is still managed by the National Mall and Memorial Parks. If you are trying to visit all National Parks, check one off your list for stopping by. It is open year-round, 24 hours a day.

Between 1918 and 1971, much of the land between 17th Street and the Lincoln Memorial, the land on which Constitution Gardens now sits, was the location of the Main Navy Building and the Navy’s Munitions Building that were constructed in response to World War I. Built to be temporary structures made of concrete, they went on to be used long after the war, even serving as the office for the Department of War up until 1943 when space became available in the newly built Pentagon. By 1970, both buildings were in rough shape, so President Richard Nixon had them demolished in order that the land could be turned into a park.

The Signers’s Memorial is located on a small island connected by a footbridge to the mainland. As soon as you step foot on the island you will find two collections of granite blocks that are laid out in a semicircle, one to the left and one to the right. Etched into each block is the signature of one of the Declaration of Independence signers, along with his printed name, occupation, and city of residence. The blocks are arranged by state.

Footbridge to 56 Signer's Memorial at Constitution Gardens

Footbridge to Signer’s Memorial at Constitution Gardens

One section of the Signer's memorial

One section of the Signer’s Memorial

Blocks are arranged by state

Blocks are arranged by state

The pond is a favorite among bird watchers and photographers. When I visited in April there were a lot of waterfowl, including recently hatched ducklings.

Geese and ducks on the Constitution Gardens pond

Geese and ducks on the Constitution Gardens pond

Unless you plan to sit and relax at the pond, a visit to Constitution Gardens takes no more than fifteen minutes. It is not a very popular spot, so if you want to get away from the crowds at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, this is definitely the place to come. If you have any questions, you must stroll over to one of the other memorials where park Rangers are stationed each day from 9:30 AM to 10 PM. No Rangers are stationed at Constitution Gardens.

Back to the Top


With a few exceptions, use of any photograph on the National Park Planner website requires a paid Royalty Free Editorial Use License or Commercial Use License. See the Photo Usage page for details.
Last updated on April 26, 2020
Share this article