Washington Monument

Monuments and Memorials

Washington Monument

The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument was built to honor the First President of the United States, George Washington. It took nearly thirty years to build and it was completed in 1888. Construction started on the monument in 1848, but a lack of funds caused the project to halt briefly until it resumed in 1877. When you look at it, you can see a slight change in the color of the stone about a third of the way up.

The monument towers above the surrounding area to a height of over 550 feet (about 555 feet). It used to be the tallest structure in the world, but it still is considered the tallest all=stone obelisk in the world.

An Elevator can take tourists to the top of the monument in under 70 seconds. After spending some time taking in the view from the observation desk, visitors can also view some exhibits on the floor just below the observation deck, before boarding the descent elevator.

Interesting Facts

Construction of the Washington Monument began in 1848 and was halted for a period of 22 years, from 1854 to 1876, due to--among other things--the Civil War and a lack of funds.

The unfinished Monument grounds were used as a cattle slaughter yard during the Civil War.

When the monument was dedicated in 1885, it was not only the tallest obelisk, but in fact the world's tallest structure at 555 feet and 5 inches tall. It is now no longer the tallest structure, but still has the distinction of tallest obelisk.

The Washington monument's marble blocks are held together by only gravity and friction; no mortar was used in constructing the monument.

One of the stones of the memorial was donated by Pope Pius IX.

The Monument was damaged by an earthquake in 2011 when cracks were discovered. It reopened to the public in 2014.

The very top of the monument is made from aluminum. At the time of its completion, aluminum was considered very valuable.

Useful Links:  ww.nps.gov/wamo/index.htm

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