The Washington Monument in Washington DC

If you ever get the chance to visit Washington, D.C. the National Mall is a must see! Not only because it’s free, but because it’s full of rich history of our prominent ancestors. One of the most notable and most visible monuments is the Washington Monument. It has a very unique shape called an obelisk. An Obelisk is a tall, thin, 4-sided object that terminates with a pyramid on the top. This type of structure predates back to the ancient Egyptians’.

George Washington

The Washington monument was built to commemorate our one-time commander-in-chief of the Continental army and our first President of the United States, Mr. George Washington. The Washington monument is both the world’s tallest stone structure but also the world’s tallest obelisk. It is made out of free standing marble, granite and blue stone gneiss. In 1884, the National Park Service measured the Washington Monument at a towering 555 fee 5 1/8th inches tall!! However, in 2013-14, National Geodetic Survey took a measurement and only calculated it at 554 feet 7 11/32nd tall.

First construction

Started on the monument in Washington, D.C. in 1848, but due to a shortage in funds, construction was stopped just 6 years later in 1854. There would be no additions made until 1877, 3 years later. When looking up at the towering structure you can visibly see a difference in shading and color of the stone work roughly 150 feet up, this is where construction was stopped in 1854, everything above the discoloration was added after 1877. The reason for the discoloration being that they used a different source for the continuing materials. The Washington Monument was considered to have been completed in 1884, however some of the internal ironwork, finishing touches and the knoll weren’t completed until 1888.

Robert Mills

The designer of the Washington Monument was a Mr. Robert Mills. The very first cornerstone was placed on July 4, 1848. The final capstone was placed on December 6, 1884. Once completed it was known as the world’s tallest structure, however it only held the title until 1889 when the Eiffel Tower was completed in Paris.

In 2011

The Washington Monument was damaged during the Virginia earthquake and the again in the same year by Hurricane Irene. Due to the damage sustained the monument had to remained closed to the public for 32 months so that repairs could be made. When looking at the monument you can even see some of the cracks that occurred and were later repaired after the earthquake. The views from the top of the Washington Monument are spectacular! If you are ever in town visiting, I highly recommend you get tickets to go up in the Washington Monument to see the sights. The Washington Monument reopened to the public in May of 2014, however in 2016 the National Parke Service had to once again close the monument to tours due to elevator issues. It is said that the monument will be closed until 2019 to modernize the old elevator, a project that will cost $2-3 million dollars.