An inside look at renovated Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
This photo taken Aug. 28, 2012 shows construction workers finishing up work on the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington. The reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall is reopening after a two-year, $34 million reconstruction. Construction fences were taken down Friday, and visitors gathered to snap photos of the new pool.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

(CBS News) WASHINGTON - Workers on Friday took down fencing that's marred one of the nation's most famous views for nearly two years.

Built in 1928, the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool was the backdrop for Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" rally and Vietnam War protests. It's the pool Jenny waded through to reunite with Forrest Gump.

Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool reopens in D.C.

But over the years, National Park Service Ranger Gilbert Lyons said, the pool became a filthy eyesore.

Asked how messy the pool got, Lyons said, "It was really terrible, especially this time of month, August. The smell was terrible because they had waste from the geese, plus all the feathers and everything else that came off them. Plus that algae, it was a terrible thing."

For two years, the only way to get a look at it was through a fence.

All the while, a $34 million renovation was taking place. The pool received a new steel reinforced foundation and a new filtration system that pumps water from the Potomac Tidal Basin.

The project was pretty much on-time and pretty much on-budget when the new pool opened.

Australian tourists who came to the pool in recent years said the last time they visited the pool was empty and looked "quite sad." They called the reflecting pool following the renovations "stunning" and "absolutely beautiful."

But nobody's happier than Ranger Lyons. Asked if the geese will be back, Lyons said, "Oh, they will be back. ... It's here for everybody to come to see."

See the renovations in Sharyl Attkisson's full report in the video above.

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    Sharyl Attkisson is a CBS News investigative correspondent based in Washington.