Underneath the Lincoln Memorial is a large cavernous area with dirt floors and concrete walls. Hanging from the ceiling beneath where Lincoln sits are hundreds of stalactite formations. The stalactites are long, slender, and pale in color, and they are growing in this artificial cave as the result of water slowly dripping through the monument which started when it was built.
Other interesting features in the underbelly of the monument are cartoon drawings that were sketched on several support columns by the workers who built the monument. One of the drawings depicts characters from the old Mutt and Jeff cartoon, which started running in 1907 and was the first daily newspaper comic strip.
Tours of the cavernous area ceased after 9/11, but this author can vouch for its existence, since in the 1970s and ’80s, local children were treated to a tour on elementary school field trips.
Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Virginia & Maryland.