Case Studies

Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial

Project Team

McKissack & McKissack

The national mall is home to some of the greatest memorials in the United States. The addition of a new memorial is no small undertaking and involves careful coordination of design, construction and materials. Memorializing Dr. King’s message, “the commanding tenants of the American Dream – Freedom, Democracy and Opportunity for All” – was no easy feat for the design and construction team. The major elements of the memorial are the sculpture, inscription wall, trees, plaza area and benches. The memorial is designed to be a place of reflection.

The first main feature is the entry portal which passes through the Mountain of Despair. Visitors enter by walking through the separated stone boulder, which symbolizes the path of struggle that King endured during his life and then be welcomed into a wide open plaza featuring the Stone of Hope, symbolizing freedom. After entering through the stone portal, visitors are met with the 450-foot crescent shaped granite wall engraved with 14 of Dr. King’s most notable quotes. Coldspring was responsible for the curbing and benches located on the opposite side of the inscription, encouraging visitors to take their time in this part of the memorial. In addition, Coldspring also provided the granite for the paving and visitor center.

The memorial includes the iconic cherry blossom trees that offer promise each spring and the sound of falling water propels the visitor to move forward throughout the memorial. Being a part of a memorial of this magnitude is an extreme honor for Coldspring.

“The memorial becomes a representation of somebody’s cause and visions for people and the country,” said Coldspring Regional Sales Rep Duane Krueger. “We are proud to be a part of Dr. King’s enduring legacy and lend our skills to this important project.”

Coldspring fabricated 50,000 square feet of Kenoran Sage granite for the plaza curbing, paving and benches. Several finishes were used to create the unique look including: Diamond® 8, Thermal and Diamond® 200. There were approximately 430 uniquely designed curb pieces.

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