National Mall: America's Front Yard

(Rochester, N.Y.) – The National Mall, placed in very center of our nation’s capitol, is a landscape unlike any other. Lined by some of the world’s finest museums and dotted with monuments to the country’s most revered figures, the National Mall draws millions of visitors each year. Most of them have only a vague sense of the struggles involved in creating this unique space. The National Mall: America's Front Yard airs on WXXI-TV on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 8 p.m.

Using a mixture of contemporary and archival footage, state-of-the-art graphics and fly-over aerials, The National Mall:America's Front Yard traces the Mall’s, and the country’s, development. From its conception in 1791 by French-born artist Pierre L’Enfant to its current status as one of the most familiar and cherished icons of our democracy, the story of the Mall mirrors the story of the United States. 

Today, the National Mall serves many needs — urban playground, historical touchstone, public forum. No other space in the world provides its citizens a place so well-suited and perfectly located to welcome them, inspire them, and allow their voices to be heard.

But for decades, it seemed this grand vision for the Mall could never come close to reality. The National Mall: America's Front Yard highlights the struggles over the years — both public and private — and the extraordinary people who made the Mall what it is today.

Today, the Mall continues to grow and change. By some combination of accident and design, the Mall has become an ideal place for public protest, quiet reflection, and joyous celebration. The National Mall ends with a flourish and a bang: the 4th of July on the Mall. Fireworks light up the monuments, the Mall’s open spaces, and the faces of thousands of people gathered to honor America on her birthday.

Pictured: The National Mall, looking east from the Washington Monument.
Credit: Courtesy of David Murdock

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