[[File:0414.jpg|thumb|left|Fig. 1, [[Benjamin Henry Latrobe]], ''Plan of the west end of the public appropriation in the city of Washington, called the Mall, as proposed to be arranged for the site of the university'', 1816.]]
[[File:0071.jpg|thumb|Fig. 2, [[Thomas Jefferson]], Plan for the City of Washington, March 1791.]]
The origins of the National Mall can be traced to a preliminary plan for the city of Washington sketched by [[Thomas Jefferson]] in March 1791. [[Thomas Jefferson|Jefferson]] laid out the city in a gridiron formation, envisioning the [[U.S. Capitol|Capitol]] building and the [[President's House]] as opposite ends of a prominent east-west axis connected by "public [[walk]]s" [Fig. 2].<ref>Richard W. Stephenson, ''"A Plan Whol[l]y New": Pierre Charles L'Enfant's Plan of the City of Washington'' (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1993), 17-19, see also 38-43, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/Q3WX7W32 view on Zotero]; Therese O'Malley, "Art and Science in American Landscape Architecture: The National Mall, Washington, D.C. 1791-1852," Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1989, 15-21, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/TQVME883 view on Zotero].</ref> Over the next several months, the military engineer [[Pierre-Charles L'Enfant]] expanded upon [[Thomas Jefferson|Jefferson]]'s ideas in his official plan for the city, which adapted abstract geometry to the natural topography of the site, which featured a [[park]]-like setting of rolling hills, a wooded terrain, and proximity to the Potomac River. <span id="LEnfant_Grand_cite"></span>Influenced by recent developments in French urban planning, [[Pierre -Charles L'Enfant|L'Enfant's]] ambitious design called for a "Grand [[Avenue]], 400 feet in breadth, and about a mile in length" leading from "the Congress Garden" on Jenkins Hill (now Capitol Hill) to the "President's [[park]]" and a "well-improved field" near the banks of the Potomac, which would be the site of a projected equestrian [[statue]] of [[George Washington]] ([[#LEnfant_Grand|view citation]]). The [[view/vista|view]] from that point back to the [[U.S. Capitol|Capitol]] would feature a [[cascade]] falling from a height of forty feet down to a [[canal]] running alongside the Mall to the Potomac. <span id="LEnfant_resort_cite"></span>[[Pierre-Charles L'Enfant|L'Enfant]] conceived of the wide urban [[avenue]] as a social as well as a scenic space: a "place of general resort," bordered by gardens and the stately residences of the city's elite, as well as playhouses, assembly rooms, academies, "and all such sort of places as may be attractive to the l[e]arned and afford diver[s]ion to the idle" ([[#LEnfant_resort|view citation]]).<ref>Michael J. Lewis, "The Idea of the American Mall," in ''The National Mall: Rethinking Washington’s Monumental Core'', ed. Nathan Glazer and Cynthia R. Field (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 13-15, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/96G2E377 view on Zotero]; Pamela Scott, "'This Vast Empire': The Iconography of the Mall, 1791-1848," in ''The Mall in Washington'', ed. Richard Longstreth, Studies in the History of Art, Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts, Symposium Papers, XIV (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1991), 39-40 and 55, n.20, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/N4WS8QU7 view on Zotero]; O'Malley 1989, 26-48, 95-97,[https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/TQVME883 view on Zotero]; H. Paul Caemmerer, ''The Life of Pierre-Charles L'Enfant, Planner of the City Beautiful, The City of Washington'' (Washington, D.C.: National Republic Publishing Company, 1950), 151-53, 157-59; 163-65 [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/PHWTAERT view on Zotero].</ref> [[Pierre-Charles L'Enfant|L'Enfant]] would later remark that he "changed the whole face of the city ground, from a savage wilderness into a compleat heden [''sic''] garden."<ref>O'Malley 1989, 50, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/TQVME883 view on Zotero].</ref>
Development of the Mall stalled over the next several decades while a variety of alternative plans were advanced. [[Benjamin Henry Latrobe]], then Supervising Architect of the [[United States Capitol]], proposed a design in 1815 that called for a [[canal]] originating in a circular basin at the foot of the [[United States Capitol|Capitol]] and running the full length of the Mall to a [[cascade]] and lagoon at the opposite end [Fig. 1]. Nothing came of this proposal, nor of others advanced by the architects [[Charles Bulfinch]] (in 1822) and [[Robert Mills]] (in 1831).<ref>Scott 1991, 46-50, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/N4WS8QU7 view on Zotero].</ref> Sections of the Mall were cultivated on a piecemeal basis; for example, in 1821 the [[Columbian Institute]] began carrying out improvements on five acres at the Mall's east end for a [[botanical garden]], which included cultivating a [[hedge]] enclosure, excavating an elliptical [[pond]] with an island, laying out gravel [[walk]]s, and planting [[border]]s with specimens of native and exotic trees and shrubs.<ref>Scott 1991, 46, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/N4WS8QU7 view on Zotero]; Therese O'Malley, "'Your Garden Must Be a Museum to You': Early American Botanic Gardens," ''Huntington Library Quarterly'' 59 (1996): 218-20, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/GD2JQTRB view on Zotero]; O'Malley, 1989, 122-36,[https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/TQVME883 view on Zotero].</ref>

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