Mount Rushmore, a National Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota, was carved from 1927 to 1941.
Courtesy of Library of Congress

All presidents were well known in their time, but they are not all remembered equally. Other presidents have become icons, used to symbolize the best of what America is and hopes to become. For example, James Polk and Ulysses S. Grant were once quite popular, yet few Americans now visit Grant's Tomb in New York or recount the accomplishments of Polk. In contrast, Lincoln, Jefferson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Washington have been enshrined in monuments and historic sites visited by millions.

Clearly, public memory about the presidents evolves and changes based on contemporary concerns. But the individuals who led America successfully during times of great crises seem to live on.

The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated on the National Mall in Washington in 1922.
Courtesy Harry S. Truman Library
Almost every city in the United States has a street named for a former president.
These signs demonstrate how Americans interact daily with representations of the presidency. Washington is the presidential name used most often on street signs, followed by Lincoln.