|Tidal Basin (Washington, D.C.)|
|Primary inflows||Potomac River|
|Primary outflows||Washington Channel|
|Basin countries||United States|
|Surface area||107 acres (0.43 km2)|
|Average depth||10 feet (3.0 m)|
|Surface elevation||3 feet (0.91 m)|
|References||"Tidal Basin". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.|
The Tidal Basin is a man-made reservoir located between the Potomac River and the Washington Channel in Washington, D.C. It is part of West Potomac Park, is near the National Mall and is a focal point of the National Cherry Blossom Festival held each spring. The Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, and the George Mason Memorial are situated adjacent to the Tidal Basin. The basin covers an area of about 107 acres (43 ha) and is 10 feet (3.0 m) deep.
The concept of the Tidal Basin originated in the 1880s to serve both as a visual centerpiece and as a means for flushing the Washington Channel, a harbor separated from the Potomac River by fill lands where East Potomac Park is situated. Colonel Peter Conover Hains of the United States Army Corps of Engineers oversaw the Basin's design and construction.
The Basin was initially named Twining Lake, in honor of Major William Johnson Twining of the Corps of Engineers, who was serving on the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia as the Engineer Commissioner during 1879. In the Commissioner's annual report to Congress for that year, Major Twining proposed to create a tidal reservoir and use that water to help "flush" the Washington Channel. A 1917 map of Washington that the U.S. Public Buildings Commission prepared shows the basin with the name "Twining Lake". The engineering firm of Alexander and Repass completed the bridge over the Tidal Basin and the Basin's seawall during the 1940s.
In August 1918 the whites-only Congressionally-funded Tidal Basin Bathing Beach was opened in front of the site of the present-day Jefferson Memorial. The beach was popular, and by one estimate attracted up to 20,000 people on a July day in 1920. Congress had planned to open a separate beach for African-Americans nearby, but the plan was blocked by southern senators. Rather than integrate the beach, Congress ordered the dismantling of the beach in 1925.
The basin is designed to release 250 million US gallons (950,000 m3) of water captured at high tide twice a day. The inlet gates, located on the Potomac side of the basin, allow water to enter the basin during high tide. During this time, the outlet gates, on the Washington Channel side, close to store incoming water and block the flow of water and sediment into the channel. As the tide begins to ebb, the general outflow of water from the basin forces the inlet gates to close. This same force is applied to the outlet gates, which open into the channel. Silt build up is swept away by the extra force of water running from the Tidal Basin through the channel. The U.S. Corps of Engineers, which maintains the Basin's gates, has restored their functioning.
The northern lobe of the basin is crossed by the 433 foot (132.0 m) Kutz Memorial Bridge, named in honor of Brigadier General Charles W. Kutz the Commissioner of Engineering for the District of Columbia during the first half of the 20th century, carrying eastbound Independence Avenue traffic in three lanes. The bridge was designed by Paul Cret, begun in 1941, completed 1943 and altered with dedication in 1954. It is of concrete and steel on pilings, all granite faced.
The Tidal Basin was the scene of an incident involving the Chairman of the United States House Committee on Ways and Means, Democratic Congressman Wilbur Mills. At 2:00 a.m. on October 7, 1974, Park police stopped Mills' speeding car, whose driver, Albert G. Gapacini, had not turned on its headlights. Also in the car was an Argentine stripper known as Fanne Foxe. After the police stopped the car, Foxe jumped into the nearby Tidal Basin and was rescued. Police stated that both Mills and Foxe were intoxicated and that Mills was bleeding from his nose and scratches on his face.
Jefferson Memorial as seen from across the Tidal Basin (July 2001)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
(April 20, 2008)
Orphans playing in the Tidal Basin circa 1924
- Blair, Elizabeth (October 31, 2020). "Landscape Architects Unveil Plans To Save The National Mall's Tidal Basin". NPR News. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
- Chapel, p. 32.
- Chapel, pp. 26–27.
- Public Buildings Commission (1918). "Washington, the Mall and Vicinity: Buildings Occupied By Various Government Activities: 1917" (map). Washington, D.C.: United States Senate. LCCN 88690910. Retrieved February 17, 2021 – via Library of Congress. (Repository: Library of Congress Geography and Map Division)
- "Tidal Basin, Washington, DC". National Mall and Memorial Parks. Department of the Interior: National Park Service. July 5, 2018. Retrieved February 27, 2021. Archived December 13, 2020, at the Wayback Machine.
- Knapp, Jackson (26 August 2018). "Once Upon a Time, the Tidal Basin Was a Swimming Beach". Washingtonian. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
- Kennedy, Sarah (2020-02-17). "Climate change is coming for the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C." Yale Climate Connections. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
- Park Historic Structures Program, National Park Service. "Kutz Memorial Bridge - Res. 332". List of Classified Structures. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- Ruane, Michael E. (August 6, 2012). "Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool nearly ready after $34 million reconstruction". Washington Post. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
- "Tidal Basin". Boating In DC. Guest Services, Inc. 2021. Retrieved February 14, 2021. Archived February 14, 2021, at the Wayback Machine.
- Green, Stephen (1974-10-11). "Mills Admits Being Present During Tidal Basin Scuffle". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
- Chapel, Gordon (June 1973). "Historic Resource Study: East and West Potomac Parks: A History". Denver, Colorado: United States Department of the Interior: National Park Service: Historic Preservation Team: Denver Service Center. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tidal Basin.|
- Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. DC-9, "Tidal Reservoir"
- HAER No. DC-9-A, "Tidal Reservoir, Inlet Bridge"
- HAER No. DC-9-B, "Tidal Reservoir, Outlet"
- Paddle Boating on the Tidal Basin
- KUTZ, Charles W: Plaque on Kutz Bridge at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.
This article incorporates public domain material from the National Park Service document: "http://www.nps.gov/nacc/pphtml/subnaturalfeatures19.html".