The memorial was selected by project lead James for Project Purity. The project's stated aim was for converting the memorial into a water purifier where the river's water could be cleansed of radiation for use by residents of the Capital Wasteland. Project Purity was abandoned after James' wife Catherine died giving birth to their child, and then picked up again 20 years later. The statue of Thomas Jefferson can be seen submerged within the Project Purity facility as it is activated.
In the add-on Broken Steel, the purifier is operational. Brotherhood of Steel knights and scribes work inside and patrol the outside of the memorial under the direction of Bigsley, overseeing the ongoing operation of Project Purity and organizing the distribution of the Aqua Pura it generates. Additional knights patrol the catwalks and shore for dying mirelurks. The water caravans that depart from the Jefferson Memorial head west from the memorial to Smith Casey's Garage, northeast to Paradise Falls, and then continue to the Republic of Dave where they turn around back on their route.
The location forms a central part in the game's storyline, with several main and side quests taking part here. It has five interior sections that can be accessed. The exterior of the Jefferson Memorial has a variety of platforms as well as a few super mutant patrols. The entrance to the memorial is through the gift shop doors on either side of the platform.
Upon entering the memorial from the gift shop side entrance, one enters into a long hallway. At the other end of this hallway is a rubble-filled room with a sewer grate hatch that is accessible and is the main part during The Waters of Life quest. Taking a right down the hall leads to a lobby with the gift shop and a turret placed on the roof, Bigsley's office during Broken Steel to the left and ruined bathrooms to the right. Once past the second double doors, you enter an area of ruined corridors and entrances to the rotunda and the memorial sub-basement. Before The Waters of Life quest, these areas are filled with level-dependent super mutants, including super mutant overlords at higher levels. This area includes many random junk items, and one Nuka-Cola vending machine.
The rotunda is home to the Project Purity purifier; the purifier itself is built around the statue of Jefferson. The rotunda floor is covered in water and one cannot swim through it. The purifier has two levels of catwalks that hang over the pool of water that was the rotunda floor. The first-level catwalk encircles the purifier with a dead-end at one end and a staircase leading to the second level on the other. The second level is an enclosed catwalk of steel and glass window walls. The activation panel is located here along with the Auxiliary Filtration Input system panel into which the modified FEV can be injected. Two leveled super mutants will spawn here: one on the first level catwalk and the other on the second level.
Going down the stairs one enters into a room filled with ruined desks and shelves, plus a gore bag left by the super mutants. In the middle of this room is a fenced opening that looks down onto the flood pools below. To the left of this opening is the mainframe, which can only be accessed during and after the quest, the Waters of Life. To the right is a hall leading to a room on the left and the stairwell to the below level. The room on the left of this hall is a small clinic with an examination table and medical and surgical tools on a tray. This is the room in which the Lone Wanderer was born.
Down the stairs, one enters into what used to be the living quarters for the Project Purity science team filled with bunkbeds, footlockers, and filing cabinets. Past this room, one reaches a four-way intersection of hallways. Taking a right leads to the flood pools. Taking a left leads to the flood control switch and James' former sleeping quarters. Going straight forward leads to a turn and a room on the right at the end of the hallway. This room leads to another room where the auxiliary power fuse box is located. This room and the flood pools area are connected here by a small hallway. This area is filled with level-dependent super mutants. If the Broken Steel add-on is installed, when one returns to the Jefferson Memorial after completing Take it Back!, the door to the memorial sub-basement will be boarded up.
- Project Purity journals
- Better Days
- Project Purity personal journals
- Colonel Autumn's uniform - Worn by Colonel Autumn, can either be obtained from The Waters of Life or Take it Back!
- Colonel Autumn's 10mm pistol - Used by Colonel Autumn during The Waters of Life, can be obtained if he falls close enough to the door when James activates the radiation.
- Colonel Autumn's laser pistol - Used by Colonel Autumn during Take it Back!
- Dad's wasteland outfit - Worn by James, can be obtained from The Waters of Life when he activates the radiation and falls close to the door.
- The room in which the Lone Wanderer was born can be found on the sub-basement level. After exiting the stairwell leading to the sub-basement, take the corridor to the right and immediately turn left. There will be a super mutant inside on your first visit. The room contains a hospital bed and medical equipment, but no notable loot. The gene projector can be found folded up against the ceiling.
- In the room in which you find the "Better Days" note, there is a framed photo of Revelation 21:6.
- If you started the Strictly Business quest and used the Mesmetron on Flak, his partner Shrapnel will wander around this area and will help you shoot down the super mutants or Enclave that spawn in the area.
- Take it Back!, Enclave troopers will storm the memorial, and (most of the time) get killed by Brotherhood of Steel knights/paladins. They will respawn every 3 days, so this is a great source of Enclave power armor and energy weapons. After completing
- It is possible to get on the memorial itself, though you must have the purifier activated. All you have to do is jump on the yellow barrels near the fences and do a catwalk on the fence. Then jump over the rails and onto the steps.
- console command tcl to walk through the sift pump pipe, where you saw an Enclave vertibird land during The Waters of Life. If you enter the gift shop from the basement, however, it will appear as it did before Broken Steel. It is possible to reenter the memorial sub-basement after starting Broken Steel by using the
- A number of quests can be skipped at the beginning of Fallout 3 if you follow the river to this location.
- Between the Waters of Life and Take it Back!, Enclave soldiers will seize control of the building and put up a Tesla barrier around it, preventing the player character from reaching it. The barrier can only be shut down by Liberty Prime.
- After activating the purifier and the Brotherhood of Steel take over the facility during the events of Broken Steel, the gift shop interior will be significantly cleaned up and brightened, making it an adequate place for the Brotherhood scribes and scientists to work. The end of the hallway opposite to the door leading outside, however, will become increasingly cluttered with rubble and junk and the grate to the pipe is blocked off completely. Additionally, the water surrounding the memorial will become much clearer. Dead mirelurk corpses can be found floating in the water, and a Brotherhood of Steel initiate can be found stating that the purified water kills the mirelurks, and their job is to snag all the "floaters" and roast their meat. They will then pull out a flamer and intermittently torch the corpses on shore.
Jefferson Memorial appears only in Fallout 3.
- After the Waters of Life quest, part of the fence is missing, thus allowing one to walk inside; the Enclave troops within are not hostile. [verified]
- If one kills all the hostiles inside the Jefferson Memorial before talking to Dr. Li for the first time, they won't be able to give James the all-clear during The Waters of Life. Thus, one won't be able to let him inside, preventing the game from being completed. [verified]
- If one tells Fawkes to leave right before activating the purifier, once one gets to Broken Steel, he will be stuck in an inaccessible part of the Jefferson Memorial. [verified]