Washington Monument

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Washington Monument
Washington Monument Dusk Jan 2006.jpg
Location Washington, D.C.
Coordinates 38°53′22.08377″N 77°2′6.86378″W / 38.8894677139°N 77.0352399389°W / 38.8894677139; -77.0352399389Coordinates: 38°53′22.08377″N 77°2′6.86378″W / 38.8894677139°N 77.0352399389°W / 38.8894677139; -77.0352399389
Area 106.01 acres (42.90 ha)
Visitation 671,031 (in 2008)
Governing body National Park Service
Washington Monument is located in Washington, D.C.
Washington Monument
Location of Washington Monument in United States Washington, D.C. central

The Washington Monument is an obelisk on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., built to commemorate George Washington, once commander-in-chief of the early Continental Army and the first American president.

The monument, made of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss,[1] is both the world's tallest stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk, standing 555 feet 5 18 inches (169.294 m) tall.[n 1] Taller monumental columns exist, but they are neither all stone nor true obelisks.[n 2]

Construction of the monument began in 1848, was halted from 1854 to 1877, and was finally completed in 1884. The hiatus in construction happened because of co-option by the Know Nothing party, a lack of funds, and the intervention of the American Civil War. A difference in shading of the marble, visible approximately 150 feet (46 m) or 27% up, shows where construction was halted. Its original design was by Robert Mills, an architect of the 1840s, but his design was modified significantly when construction resumed. The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1848; the capstone was set on December 6, 1884, and the completed monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885.[7] It officially opened October 9, 1888. Upon completion, it became the world's tallest structure, a title previously held by the Cologne Cathedral. The monument held this designation until 1889, when the Eiffel Tower was completed in Paris, France.

The monument stands due east of the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial.[8]

The monument was damaged during the 2011 Virginia earthquake and Hurricane Irene in the same year; it remains closed to the public until spring 2014 while the structure is assessed and repaired.[9] The National Park Service estimates the monument will be closed until spring of 2014.[10] Difficulties in repair included complexities such as the time needed to erect scaffolding.[11] The National Park Service has stated the Washington Monument would reopen on May 12, 2014.[12]

History[edit]

Rationale[edit]

Hailed as the father of his country, and the leader who was "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen", George Washington (1732–1799) was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1798. Even his erstwhile enemy King George III called him "the greatest character of the age".[13]

At his death in 1799 he left a critical legacy: he exemplified the core ideals of the American Revolution and the new nation: republican virtue and devotion to civic duty. Washington was the unchallenged public icon of American military and civic patriotism. He was also identified with the Federalist Party that lost control of the national government in 1800 to the Jeffersonian Republicans, who were reluctant to celebrate the hero of the opposition party.[14]

Proposals for a memorial[edit]

Starting with victory in the Revolution, there were many proposals to build a monument to Washington. After his death, Congress authorized a suitable memorial in the national capital, but the decision was reversed when the Democratic-Republican Party (Jeffersonian Republicans) took control of Congress in 1801.[15] The Republicans were dismayed that Washington had become the symbol of the Federalist Party; furthermore the values of Republicanism seemed hostile to the idea of building monuments to powerful men. They also blocked his image on coins or the celebration of his birthday. Further political squabbling, along with the North-South division on the Civil War, blocked the completion of the Washington Monument until the late 19th century. By that time, Washington had the image of a national hero who could be celebrated by both North and South, and memorials to him were no longer controversial.[16]

As early as 1783, the Continental Congress had resolved "That an equestrian statue of George Washington be erected at the place where the residence of Congress shall be established." The proposal called for engraving on the statue which explained it had been erected "in honor of George Washington, the illustrious Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the United States of America during the war which vindicated and secured their liberty, sovereignty, and independence."[17] Currently, there are two equestrian statues of President Washington in Washington, DC. One is located in Washington Circle at the intersection of the Foggy Bottom and West End neighborhoods at the north end of the George Washington University, and the other is in the gardens of the National Cathedral.

Ten days after Washington's death, a Congressional committee recommended a different type of monument. John Marshall, a Representative from Virginia (who later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court) proposed that a tomb be erected within the Capitol. But a lack of funds, disagreement over what type of memorial would best honor the country's first president, and the Washington family's reluctance to move his body prevented progress on any project.[18]

Design[edit]

Sketch of the proposed Washington Monument by architect Robert Mills circa 1836.

Progress towards a memorial finally began in 1832. That year, which marked the 100th anniversary of Washington's birth, a large group of concerned citizens formed the Washington National Monument Society. In 1836, after they had raised $28,000 in donations ($15,200,000 in 2011[19]), they announced a competition for the design of the memorial.[20]

On September 23, 1835, the board of managers of the society described their expectations:[21]

It is proposed that the contemplated monument shall be like him in whose honor it is to be constructed, unparalleled in the world, and commensurate with the gratitude, liberality, and patriotism of the people by whom it is to be erected ... [It] should blend stupendousness with elegance, and be of such magnitude and beauty as to be an object of pride to the American people, and of admiration to all who see it. Its material is intended to be wholly American, and to be of marble and granite brought from each state, that each state may participate in the glory of contributing material as well as in funds to its construction.

The society held a competition for designs in 1836. The winner, architect Robert Mills, was well qualified for the commission. The citizens of Baltimore had chosen him to build a monument to Washington, and he had designed a tall Greek column surmounted by a statue of the President. Mills also knew the capital well, having just been chosen Architect of Public Buildings for Washington.

His design called for a tall obelisk—an upright, four-sided pillar that tapers as it rises—with a nearly flat top. He surrounded the obelisk with a circular colonnade, the top of which would feature Washington standing in a chariot. Inside the colonnade would be statues of 30 prominent Revolutionary War heroes.

One part of Mills' elaborate design that was built was the doorway surmounted by an Egyptian-style Winged sun. It was removed when construction resumed after 1884. A photo can be seen in The Egyptian Revival by Richard G. Carrot.[22]

Criticism of Mills' design and its estimated price tag of more than $1 million ($543,000,000 in 2011[19])[23] caused the society to hesitate. Its members decided to start building the obelisk, and to leave the question of the colonnade for later. They believed that if they used the $87,000 they had already collected to start work, the appearance of the monument would spur further donations that would allow them to complete the project.

Construction[edit]

Monument plans and timeline of construction.

The Washington Monument was originally intended to be located at the point at which a line running directly south from the center of the White House crossed a line running directly west from the center of the Capitol. Pierre (Peter) Charles L'Enfant's 1791 "Plan of the city intended for the permanent seat of t(he) government of the United States ..." designated this point as the location of the equestrian statue of George Washington that the Continental Congress had voted for in 1783.[24][n 3] The ground at the intended location proved to be too unstable to support a structure as heavy as the planned obelisk; at that site, 390 feet (119 m) WNW from the Monument, there now stands a small monolith called the Jefferson Pier.

Excavation[edit]

Excavation for the foundation of the Monument began in early 1848.[28] The cornerstone was laid as part of an elaborate Fourth of July ceremony hosted by the Freemasons, an organization to which Washington belonged. Speeches that day showed the country continued to revere Washington. One celebrant noted, "No more Washingtons shall come in our time ... But his virtues are stamped on the heart of mankind. He who is great in the battlefield looks upward to the generalship of Washington. He who grows wise in counsel feels that he is imitating Washington. He who can resign power against the wishes of a people, has in his eye the bright example of Washington."

Donations run out[edit]

Construction continued until 1854, when donations ran out.[29] The next year, Congress voted to appropriate $200,000 ($68.1 million in 2011[19]) to continue the work, but rescinded before the money could be spent. This reversal came because of a new policy the society had adopted in 1849. It had agreed, after a request from some Alabamians, to encourage all states and territories to donate commemorative stones that could be fitted into the interior walls. Members of the society believed this practice would make citizens feel they had a part in building the monument, and it would cut costs by limiting the amount of stone that had to be bought. Blocks of Maryland marble, granite and sandstone steadily appeared at the site. American Indian tribes, professional organizations, societies, businesses and foreign nations donated stones that were 4 feet by 2 feet by 12–18 inches (1.2 m by 0.6 m by 0.3 – 0.5 m). One stone was donated by the Ryukyu Kingdom and brought back by Commodore Matthew C. Perry,[30] but never arrived in Washington (it was replaced in 1989).[31] Many of the stones donated for the monument carried inscriptions which did not commemorate George Washington. For example, one from the Templars of Honor and Temperance stated "We will not buy, sell, or use as a beverage, any spiritous or malt liquors, Wine, Cider, or any other Alcoholic Liquor." It was just one commemorative stone that started the events that stopped the Congressional appropriation and ultimately construction altogether. In the early 1850s, Pope Pius IX contributed a block of marble. In March 1854, members of the anti-Catholic, nativist American Party — better known as the "Know-Nothings"—stole the Pope's stone as a protest and supposedly threw it into the Potomac (it was replaced in 1982).[32] Congress immediately rescinded its $200,000 contribution.

The partially completed monument, photographed by Mathew Brady; circa 1860.

The Know-Nothings retained control of the society until 1858, adding 13 courses of masonry to the monument, all of which were of such poor quality that they were later removed. Unable to collect enough money to finish work, they increasingly lost public support. The Know-Nothings eventually gave up and returned all records to the original society, but the stoppage in construction continued into, then after, the Civil War.[32]

Post-Civil War[edit]

Interest in the monument grew after the Civil War. Engineers studied the foundation several times to determine if it was strong enough. In 1876, the Centennial of the Declaration of Independence, Congress agreed to appropriate another $200,000 to resume construction.[28] The monument, which had stood for nearly 20 years at less than one-third of its proposed height, now seemed ready for completion.

Before work could begin again, arguments about the most appropriate design resumed. Many people thought a simple obelisk, one without the colonnade, would be too bare. Architect Mills was reputed to have said omitting the colonnade would make the monument look like "a stalk of asparagus"; another critic said it offered "little ... to be proud of."[18]

P.H. McLaughlin setting the aluminum apex

This attitude led people to submit alternative designs. Both the Washington National Monument Society and Congress held discussions about how the monument should be finished. The society considered five new designs, concluding that the one by William Wetmore Story seemed "vastly superior in artistic taste and beauty." Congress deliberated over those five as well as Mills' original. While it was deciding, it ordered work on the obelisk to continue. Finally, the members of the society agreed to abandon the colonnade and alter the obelisk so it conformed to classical Egyptian proportions.[21]

Resumption[edit]

Construction resumed in 1879 under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Lincoln Casey of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Casey redesigned the foundation, strengthening it so it could support a structure that ultimately weighed more than 40,000 tons. He then followed the society's orders and figured out what to do with the commemorative stones that had accumulated. Though many people ridiculed them, Casey managed to install most of the stones in the interior walls — one stone was found at the bottom of the elevator shaft in 1951.[31] One difficulty that is visible to this day is that the builders were unable to find the same quarry stone used in the initial construction, and as a result, the bottom third of the monument is a slightly lighter shade than the rest of the construction.

The building of the monument proceeded quickly after Congress had provided sufficient funding. In four years, it was completed, with the 100-ounce (2.85 kg) aluminum apex/lightning-rod being put in place on December 6, 1884.[28] The apex was the largest single piece of aluminum cast at the time, when aluminum commanded a price comparable to silver.[33] Two years later, the Hall–Héroult process made aluminum easier to produce and the price of aluminum plummeted, making the once-valuable apex nearly worthless, though it still provided a lustrous, non-rusting apex that served as the original lightning rod.[34] The monument opened to the public on October 9, 1888.[35]

Dedication[edit]

The Monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885.[7] Over 800 people attended to hear speeches by Ohio Senator John Sherman, William Wilson Corcoran (of the Washington National Monument Society), Thomas Lincoln Casey of the Army Corps of Engineers and US President Chester Arthur.[28] After the speeches General William Tecumseh Sherman led a procession, which included the dignitaries and the crowd, to the east main entrance of the Capitol building, where President Arthur received passing troops. Then, in the House Chamber, the president, his Cabinet, diplomats and others listened to Representative John Davis Long read a speech given 37 years earlier at the laying of the cornerstone. A final speech was given by Virginia governor John W. Daniel.[36]

Later history[edit]

Diagram of the Principal High Buildings of the Old World, 1884. The Washington Monument is the tallest structure represented.

At the time of its completion, it was the tallest building in the world, a title it retained until the Eiffel tower was completed in 1889. It remains the tallest stone structure in the world.[n 2] It is the tallest building in Washington, D.C.. The Heights of Buildings Act of 1910 restricts new building heights to no more than 20 feet (6.1 m) greater than the width of the adjacent street. This monument is vastly taller than the obelisks around the capitals of Europe and in Egypt and Ethiopia, but ordinary antique obelisks were quarried as a monolithic block of stone, and were therefore seldom taller than approximately 100 feet (30 m).[37]

The Washington Monument attracted enormous crowds before it officially opened. During the six months that followed its dedication, 10,041 people climbed the 897 steps and 50 landings to the top. After the elevator that had been used to raise building materials was altered to carry passengers, the number of visitors grew rapidly. As early as 1888, an average of 55,000 people per month went to the top, and today the Washington Monument has more than 800,000 visitors each year. As with all historic areas administered by the National Park Service, the national memorial was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. The stairs are no longer accessible to the general public due to safety issues and vandalism of the interior commemorative stones.

In the early 1900s unsightly material started oozing out between the outer stones of the first construction period below the 150-foot mark. Tourists referred to this as "geological tuberculosis". This was caused by the weathering of the cement and rubble filler between the outer and inner walls. As the lower section of the monument was exposed to cold and hot and damp and dry weather conditions, the material dissolved and worked its way through the cracks between the stones of the outer wall, solidifying as it dripped down their outer surface.[38]

The monument undergoing restoration in 1999.

For ten hours in December 1982, the Washington Monument and 8 tourists were held hostage by a nuclear arms protester, Norman Mayer, claiming to have explosives in a van he drove to the monument's base. U.S. Park Police shot and killed Mayer. The monument was undamaged in the incident, and it was discovered later that Mayer did not have explosives.[39] After this incident, the surrounding grounds were modified in places to restrict the possible unauthorized approach of motor vehicles.

The monument underwent an extensive restoration project between 1998 and 2001. During this time it was completely covered in scaffolding designed by the American architect Michael Graves (who was also responsible for the interior changes).[40] The project included cleaning, repairing and repointing the monument's exterior and interior stonework. The stone in public accessible interior spaces was encased in glass to prevent vandalism, while new windows with narrower frames were installed (to increase the viewing space). New exhibits celebrating the life of George Washington, and the monument's place in history, were also added.[41] A temporary interactive visitors center, dubbed the "Discovery Channel Center" was also constructed during the project. The center provided a simulated ride to the top of the monument, and shared information with visitors during phases in which the monument was closed.[42] The majority of the project's phases were completed by summer 2000, allowing the monument to reopen July 31, 2000.[41] The monument temporarily closed again on December 4, 2000 to allow a new elevator cab to be installed, completing the final phase of the restoration project. The new cab included glass windows, allowing visitors to see some of the 193 commemorative stones embedded in the monument's walls. The installation of the cab took much longer than anticipated, and the monument did not reopen until February 22, 2002. The final cost of the restoration project was $10.5 million.[43]

On September 7, 2004 the monument closed for a $15 million renovation, which included numerous security upgrades and design of the monument grounds by landscape architect, Laurie Olin. The renovations were due partly to security concerns following the September 11 attacks and the start of the War on Terror. The monument reopened April 1, 2005, while the surrounding grounds remained closed until the landscape was finished later that summer.[44][45]

2011 Virginia earthquake damage[edit]

Crack in a stone at the top of the monument after the 2011 Virginia earthquake
Crack in a stone at the top of the monument after the 2011 Virginia earthquake
Repairing the Washington Monument
Repairing the Washington Monument, 2013

On August 23, 2011, the Washington Monument sustained damage during the 2011 Virginia earthquake.[46] A National Park Service spokesperson reported that inspectors discovered a crack near the top of the structure, and announced that the monument would be closed indefinitely.[47][48] A block in the pyramidion also was partially dislodged, and pieces of stone, stone chips, mortar, and paint chips came free of the monument and "littered" the interior stairs and observation deck.[49] The Park Service said it was bringing in two structural engineering firms (Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. and Tipping Mar Associates) with extensive experience in historic buildings and earthquake-damaged structures to assess the monument.[50]

Officials said an examination of the monument's exterior revealed a "debris field" of mortar and pieces of stone around the base of the monument, and several "substantial" pieces of stone had fallen inside the memorial.[48] A crack in the central stone of the west face of the pyramidion was 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and 4 feet (1.2 m) long.[51][52] Park Service inspectors also discovered that the elevator system had been damaged, and was operating only to the 250-foot (76 m) level, but was soon repaired.[53]

On September 27, 2011, Denali National Park ranger Brandon Latham arrived to assist four climbers belonging to a "difficult access" team from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates.[48][52] The reason for the inspection was the park agency's suspicion that there were more cracks on the monument's upper section not visible from the inside. The agency said it filled the cracks that occurred on August 23. After Hurricane Irene hit the D.C. area on August 27, water was discovered inside the memorial, leading the Park Service to suspect there was more undiscovered damage.[48] The rappellers used radios to report what they found to engineering experts on the ground.[54] Wiss, Janney, Elstner climber Dave Megerle took three hours to set up the rappelling equipment and set up a barrier around the monument's lightning rod system atop the pyramidion;[51] it was the first time the hatch in the pyramidion had been open since 2000.[51]

The external inspection of the monument was completed October 5, 2011. In addition to the four-foot long west crack, the inspection found several corner cracks and surface spalls (pieces of stone broken loose) at or near the top of the monument, and more loss of joint mortar lower down the monument. The full report was due November 2011.[55] Bob Vogel, Superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, emphasized that the monument was not in danger of collapse. "It's structurally sound and not going anywhere", he told the national media at a press conference on September 26, 2011.[52]

More than $200,000 was spent between August 24 and September 26 inspecting the structure.[48] The National Park Service said that it would soon begin sealing the exterior cracks on the monument to protect it from rain and snow.[54][56]

On July 9, 2012, The National Park Service announced that the monument could be closed for repairs until 2014.[57] NPS said a portion of the plaza at the base of the monument will be removed and scaffolding constructed around the exterior. In July 2013, lighting was added to the scaffolding.[58] Some stone pieces saved during the 2011 inspection will be refastened to the monument, while "Dutchman patches"[59][60] will be used in other places. Several of the stone lips that help hold the pyramidion's 2,000-pound (910 kg) exterior slabs in place were also damaged, so engineers will install metal brackets to more securely fasten them to the monument.[61]

Security screening center[edit]

Visitor security screening

security screening center at Washington Monument in 2013
The temporary visitor screening center, erected in 2001,
proposed security screening center at Washington Monument
will be replaced by a high-security, more aesthetically pleasing one.

In 2001, a temporary visitor security screening center was added to the east entrance of the Washington Monument in the wake of the September 11 attacks. The one-story facility was designed to reduce the ability of a terrorist attack on the interior of the monument, or an attempt to seize and hold it. Visitors obtained their timed-entry tickets from the Monument Lodge east of the memorial, and passed through metal detectors and bomb-sniffing sensors prior to entering the monument. After exiting the monument, they passed through a turnstile to prevent them from re-entering. This facility, a one-story cube of wood around a metal frame, was intended to be temporary until a new screening facility could be designed.[62]

On March 6, 2014, the National Capital Planning Commission approved a new visitor screening facility to replace the temporary one. The 785 square feet (72.9 m2) facility will be two stories high and contain space for screening 20 to 25 visitors at a time. The exterior walls (which will be slightly frosted to prevent viewing of the security screening process) will consist of an outer sheet of bulletproof glass or polycarbonate, a metal mesh insert, and another sheet of bulletproof glass. The inner sheet will consist of two sheets (slightly separated) of laminated glass. A 0.5-inch (1.3 cm) airspace will exist between the inner and outer glass walls to help insulate the facility. Two (possibly three) geothermal heat pumps will be built on the north side of the monument to provide heating and cooling of the facility. The new facility will also provide an office for National Park Service and United States Park Police staff. The structure is designed so that it may be removed without damaging the monument.[63] The United States Commission of Fine Arts approved the aesthetic design of the screening facility in June 2013.[64]

Construction details[edit]

View of monument with the White House to the upper right. Direction to Lincoln Memorial is to the left. 2003
View from Lincoln Memorial

The completed monument stands 555 ft 5 18 in (169.294 m) tall,[n 1] with the following construction materials and details:

  • Phase One (1848 to 1858): To the 152-foot (46 m) level, under the direction of Superintendent William Daugherty.
    Exterior: White marble from Texas, Maryland (adjacent to and east of north I-83 near the Warren Road exit in Cockeysville).
  • Phase Two (1878 to 1888): Work completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, commanded by Lt. Col. Thomas L. Casey.
    Exterior: White marble, three courses or rows, from Sheffield, Massachusetts.
    Exterior: White marble from Beaver Dam Quarry (now Beaverdam Pond) near Cockeysville, Maryland.[65]:63[66][67]
  • Structural: marble (0–555 feet (0–169 m)), bluestone gneiss (below 150 feet (46 m)), granite (150–450 feet (46–137 m)), concrete (below ground, unreinforced)[1]
  • Commemorative stones: granite, marble, limestone, sandstone, soapstone, jade[31]
  • Aluminum apex, at the time a rare metal as valuable as silver, was cast by William Frishmuth.[6] Before the installation it was put on public display and stepped over by visitors who could say they had "stepped over the top of the Washington Monument".
  • Cost of the monument during 1848–85: $1,187,710
    Cost of the monument during 1848–88: $1,409,500[68]

Exterior structure[edit]

  • Total height of monument:[n 1] 555 ft 5 18 in (169.294 m)
  • Height from lobby to floor of observation level: 500 feet (152 m)
  • Width at base of monument: 55 ft 1 12 in (16.802 m)
  • Width at top of shaft: 34 ft 5 58 in (10.506 m)
  • Thickness of monument walls at base: 15 feet (4.6 m)
  • Thickness of monument walls at top of shaft: 18 inches (46 cm)
  • Thickness of monument walls in pyramidion: 7 inches (18 cm)[65]:85
  • Total weight of monument (including foundation): 81,120 long tons (90,854 short tons; 82,422 tonnes)
  • Total number of blocks in monument: 36,491
    Includes all marble, granite and gneiss blocks, whether externally or internally visible or hidden from view within the wall or original foundation.
  • Sway of monument in 30-mile-per-hour (48 km/h) wind: 0.125 inches (3.2 mm)

Exterior inscriptions[edit]

The four faces of the aluminum apex all bear inscriptions[65]:82–84 in cursive letters:[6]

North face West face South face East face
Joint Commission
at
Setting of Capstone

Chester A. Arthur
W. W. Corcoran, Chairman
M. E. Bell
Edward Clark
John Newton

Act of August 2, 1876
Corner Stone Laid on Bed of Foundation
July 4, 1848

First Stone at Height of 152 feet laid
August 7, 1880

Capstone set December 6, 1884
Chief Engineer and Architect,
Thos. Lincoln Casey,
Colonel, Corps of Engineers

Assistants:
George W. Davis,
Captain, 14th Infantry
Bernard R. Green,
Civil Engineer

Master Mechanic
P. H. McLaughlin
Laus Deo

Most of the inscriptions are covered by a copper band which supports eight lightning rods.

In October 2007, it was discovered that the display of a replica of the aluminum apex was positioned so that the Laus Deo (Latin for "praise be to God") inscription could not be seen and Laus Deo was omitted from the placard describing the apex. The National Park Service rectified the omission by creating a new display.[69]

Capstone[edit]

Inscription on the south side of the aluminum tip of the Washington Monument.
  • Marble capstone weight: 3,300 pounds (1.5 t)
  • Capstone cuneiform keystone measures 5.16 feet (1.57 m) from base to the top
  • Each side of the capstone base: 3 feet (0.91 m)
  • Width of aluminum apex: 5.6 inches (14 cm) on each of its four sides
  • Height of aluminum apex from its base: 8.9 inches (23 cm)
  • Weight of aluminum apex on capstone: 100 ounces (2,800 g)

Foundation[edit]

  • Depth: 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m)
  • Weight: 36,912 long tons (41,341 short tons; 37,504 tonnes)
    Includes earth and gneiss rubble above the concrete foundation that is within its 126.5-foot (38.6 m) square perimeter.
  • Area: 16,002 square feet (1,486.6 m2)

Interior[edit]

Photo of the Washington Monument Commemorative Stone from Utah (State of Deseret)
The Deseret Stone is one of 193 commemorative stones inside the monument. The stone was donated in 1853 by the Utah Territory, to represent the provisional State of Deseret.
  • Number of commemorative stones in stairwell: 193[31]
  • Present elevator installed: 1998
  • Present elevator cab installed: 2001
  • Elevator travel time: 70 seconds
  • Number of steps in stairwell: 897

Interior inscriptions[edit]

On the interior of the monument are 193 commemorative stones, donated by numerous governments and organizations from all over the world.[70]

A stone at the 240-foot level of the monument is inscribed in Welsh: Fy iaith, fy ngwlad, fy nghenedl Cymru – Cymru am byth (My language, my land, my nation of Wales – Wales for ever). The stone, imported from Wales, was donated by Welsh citizens of New York.[71] Two other stones presented by the Sunday Schools of the Methodist Episcopal Church in New York and from the Sabbath School children of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, quote the Bible verses Proverbs 10:7, Proverbs 22:6, and Luke 17:6.[72][73]

Another inscription, this one sent by the Ottoman government,[74] combines the works of two eminent calligraphers: an imperial tughra by Mustafa Rakım's student Haşim Efendi, and an inscription in jalī ta'līq script by Kadıasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi, the calligrapher who wrote the giant medallions at Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.[75][76]

In popular culture[edit]

As a landmark of the U.S. capital, the Washington Monument has been featured in film and television depictions. The symbolic meaning of the shape is referenced in the novel The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.[77] The monument is the subject of Carl Sandburg's 1922 poem, "Washington by Night."[78]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Several heights have been specified, all of which exclude the foundation whose top was 17 feet (5.2 m) above the pre-construction ground level. The foundation is surrounded by a roughly circular mound of earth and gneiss rubble which gradually rises from the surrounding terrain to the top of the foundation, effectively placing the foundation below ground level.[1] This mound serves as a buttress for the foundation.
    • 555 feet 5 18 inches (169.294 m) according to the National Park Service[2] given above. Reported in 1885 by the engineer in charge of construction.[3]
    • 554 feet 11 12 inches (169.151 m) according to 1994 architectural drawings, base to tip.[1]:Drawings: East elevation Differs significantly from other reported heights.
    • 555 feet 5 12 inches (169.304 m) according to the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, measured in 1934 using a metal chain.[4]
    • 555 feet 5.9 inches (169.314 m) according to the U.S. National Geodetic Survey, measured in 1999 using GPS receivers.[4][5] Never officially adopted by the NGS.
    Given the 1885 height, a set of lightning rods installed in 1934 around the aluminum apex, which protrude above its tip by another 15.2 centimeters (6.0 in),[6] are not included in these heights. Between 1884 and 1934 the apex was struck by lightning many times, blunting its tip and losing about 12 inch (1.3 cm) in height.
  2. ^ a b The Washington Monument is the third tallest monumental column in the world after the San Jacinto Monument in Texas and the Juche Tower in North Korea.
    • The San Jacinto Monument is taller by 11.9 feet (3.6 m), but it is made of reinforced concrete, not stone, even though it has a facade of limestone.
    • The Juche Tower is taller by less than 1 meter (3 ft 3 in), but its top 20 meters (66 ft) are metal, not stone.
  3. ^ L'Enfant identified himself as "Peter Charles L'Enfant" during most of his life, while residing in the US. He wrote this name on his "Plan of the city intended for the permanent seat of the government of t(he) United States ..." and on other legal documents.[24] However, during the early 1900s, a French ambassador to the U.S., Jean Jules Jusserand, popularized the use of L'Enfant's birth name, "Pierre Charles L'Enfant".[25] The National Park Service identifies L'Enfant as "Major Peter Charles L'Enfant" and as "Major Pierre (Peter) Charles L'Enfant" on pages of its website that describe the Washington Monument.[26][27] The United States Code states in 40 U.S.C. § 3309: "(a) In General.—The purposes of this chapter shall be carried out in the District of Columbia as nearly as may be practicable in harmony with the plan of Peter Charles L'Enfant."

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions about the Washington Monument by the National Park Service". Nps.gov. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  3. ^ [Col. Thomas Lincoln Casey], "Completion of Washington's Monument", Scientific American Supplement Vol. 19, March 7, 1885, pp. 7650–7651, p. 7651.
  4. ^ a b "NOAA team uses GPS to size up monumental task". Gcn.com. August 27, 1999. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Washington Monument GPS Project" (PDF). Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c "The Point of a Monument: A History of the aluminium Cap of the Washington Monument". Tms.org. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Marking a people's love, an article from The New York Times published February 22, 1885
  8. ^ "Foundation Statement for the National Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Park", National Park Service, retrieved 2010-05-20 
  9. ^ ""Washington Monument Remains Closed Indefinitely." ''Associated Press.''". Photoblog.msnbc.msn.com. August 23, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Washington Monument construction continues." WTOP. February 21, 2014. Accessed March 15, 2014.
  11. ^ "Earthquake-damaged Washington Monument may be closed into 2014." Washington Post. July 9, 2012. Accessed July 10, 2012.
  12. ^ "Washington Monument to Reopen May 12 After Repairs." Associated Press. March 25, 2014. Accessed March 25, 2014.
  13. ^ Ambrose, Stephen E. (November 2002). "Founding Fathers and Slaveholders". Smithsonian Magazine. 
  14. ^ Paul K. Longmore (1999). The Invention of George Washington. U. of Virginia Press. p. 207. 
  15. ^ Sheldon S. Cohen, "Monuments to Greatness: George Dance, Charles Polhill, and Benjamin West's Design for a Memorial to George Washington," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1991, Vol. 99 Issue 2, pp 187–203
  16. ^ Kirk Savage, Monument Wars: Washington, D.C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape (2009) pp 32–45
  17. ^ George Cochrane Hazelton, The national capitol: its architecture, art and history (1902) p. 288
  18. ^ a b "The Washington Monument: Tribute in Stone". National Park Service, ParkNet. 
  19. ^ a b c United States nominal Gross Domestic Product per capita figures follow the "Measuring Worth" series supplied in Lawrence H. Officer (2013), "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?" MeasuringWorth. These figures follow the figures as of 2011.
  20. ^ Olszewski, George J. (1971). "A History of the Washington Monument, 1844–1968, Washington, D.C.". Washington, DC: National Park Service. Chapter 1: "Historical Introduction". Archived from the original on June 17, 2007. 
  21. ^ a b "The Washington Monument: Tribute in Stone, Reading 3". National Park Service. Retrieved August 12, 2011. 
  22. ^ Richard G. Carrot, The Egyptian Revival, University of California press, 1978 plate 33
  23. ^ Dollar Conversions From 1800 to 2016 Oregon State University.
  24. ^ a b Peter Charles L'Enfant's "Plan of the city intended for the permanent seat of the government of t(he) United States ..." in official website of the U.S. Library of Congress Accessed October 22, 2009. Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington, D.C., contains an inlay of the central portion of L'Enfant's plan and of its legends. Archived 30 July 2007 at WebCite
  25. ^ Bowling, Kenneth R (2002). Peter Charles L'Enfant: vision, honor, and male friendship in the early American Republic. George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
  26. ^ "Washington Monument" section in "Washington, D.C.: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary" page in official website of U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  27. ^ "Washington Monument" page in "American Presidents" section of official website of U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  28. ^ a b c d Reeves, Thomas C. (February 1975). Gentleman Boss. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 413. ISBN 978-0-394-46095-6. 
  29. ^ "History & Culture - Washington Monument". National Park Service. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  30. ^ Kerr, George H. Okinawa: The History of an Island People. (revised ed.) Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing, 2003. p337n.
  31. ^ a b c d The Washington Monument, A Technical History and Catalog of the Commemorative Stones page 3.
  32. ^ a b "Washington Monument". National Park Service. Retrieved August 12, 2011. 
  33. ^ George J. Binczewski (1995). "The Point of a Monument: A History of the Aluminum Cap of the Washington Monument". JOM 47 (11): 20–25. 
  34. ^ "Hall Process: Production and Commercialization of Aluminum". National Historic Chemical Landmarks. American Chemical Society. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Washington Monument". Teaching with Historic Places. National Park Service. . Retrieved October 15, 2006.
  36. ^ Reeves, Thomas C. (February 1975). Gentleman Boss. NY, NY: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 414. ISBN 978-0-394-46095-6. 
  37. ^ Edward Chaney, "Roma Britannica and the Cultural Memory of Egypt: Lord Arundel and the Obelisk of Domitian", in Roma Britannica: Art Patronage and Cultural Exchange in Eighteenth-Century Rome, eds. D. Marshall, K. Wolfe and S. Russell, British School at Rome, 2011, pp. 147–70.
  38. ^ "Washington Monument attacked by Geological Tuberculosis" Popular Mechanics, December 1911, pp. 829–830. This source mistakenly said the lower 190 feet was constructed during the early period — it was actually 150 feet.
  39. ^ Jeffrey David Simon (2001). The Terrorist Trap: America's Experience with Terrorism. Indiana UP. p. 285. 
  40. ^ Gabriel Escobar (December 30, 1998). "Obelisk's Scaffold Is First of Its Kind". Washington Post. Retrieved June 13, 2011. 
  41. ^ a b Linda Wheeler (July 30, 2000). "It's Ready for Its Close-Up Now: Big Crowds Are Expected For Monument's Reopening". The Washington Post. 
  42. ^ "Metro in Brief". The Washington Post. August 30, 2000. 
  43. ^ John Heilprin (February 23, 2002). "New sight from Washington Monument". Deseret News. Retrieved June 13, 2011. 
  44. ^ "Washington Monument reopens to public". USA Today. April 1, 2005. Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  45. ^ Paul Schwartzman (March 19, 2005). "Washington Monument To Reopen Next Month". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  46. ^ FoxNews.com (August 23, 2011). "Disasters Washington Monument Indefinitely Closes After Earthquake Causes Cracks". Fox News. Retrieved August 23, 2011. 
  47. ^ "Washington Monument top cracked by earthquake". Associated Press. Retrieved August 24, 2011. [dead link]
  48. ^ a b c d e Michael E. Ruane (September 26, 2011). "Washington Monument Elevator Damage Inspected as Earthquake's Toll Is Assessed". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  49. ^ Sullivan, Patricia. "Washington Monument Cracks Indicate Earthquake Damage." Washington Post. August 25, 2011. Assessed August 26, 2011.
  50. ^ "Washington Monument Finds Additional Cracks." Press release. National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. August 25, 2011.. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  51. ^ a b c Nuckols, Ben. "Weather May Delay Washington Monument Rappelling"[dead link] Associated Press. September 27, 2011.
  52. ^ a b c O'Toole, Molly. "Engineers to Rappel Down Washington Monument to Inspect Damage". Reuters.com. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  53. ^ "Clark, Charles S. "Washington Monument Elevator Woes."". Government Executive. August 21, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  54. ^ a b Smith, Markette (September 26, 2011). "Climbers Rappel Washington Monument to Assess Damage". Wamu.org. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  55. ^ Washington Monument external earthquake inspection complete, Washington Post, October 5, 2011, Accessed October 25. 2011.
  56. ^ Washington Monument Earthquake Update, NPS, page contains news releases, picture and video images of the earthquake and damage
  57. ^ Cohn, Alicia. "Washington Monument could be closed until 2014 for earthquake repairs". The Hill. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  58. ^ Freed, Benjamin R. "Washington Monument Nearly Topped Out, Will Be Lighted in June". Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  59. ^ A "Dutchman Repair" "is a type of partial replacement or 'piecing-in'" that "involves replacing a small area of damaged stone" with a small piece of natural or imitation stone, "wedged in place or secured with an adhesive", with the joint being "as narrow as possible to maintain the appearance of a continuous surface."
  60. ^ Grimmer, Anne E., "Dutchman Repair" (1984),A Glossary of Historic Masonry Deterioration Problems and Preservation Treatments. Washington, D.C.: Department of the Interior, National Park Service Preservation Assistance Division. P. 56. Accessed April 3, 2013.
  61. ^ Ruane, Michael E. "Earthquake-Damaged Washington Monument May Be Closed Into 2014." Washington Post. July 9, 2012. Accessed July 14, 2012.
  62. ^ National Park Service and National Capital Planning Commission. "Visitor Screening Facility, Washington Monument Between 14th and 17th Streets, NW and Constitution Avenue, NW and the Tidal Basin." Executive Director’s Recommendation. NCPC File Number 6176. March 6, 2014, p. 5, 7. Accessed March 7, 2014.
  63. ^ Neibauer, Michael. "Here's Where You'll Queue to Visit the Washington Monument." Washington Business Journal. March 7, 2014. Accessed March 7, 2014.
  64. ^ National Park Service and National Capital Planning Commission. "Visitor Screening Facility, Washington Monument Between 14th and 17th Streets, NW and Constitution Avenue, NW and the Tidal Basin." Executive Director’s Recommendation. NCPC File Number 6176. March 6, 2014, p. 15-16. Accessed March 7, 2014.
  65. ^ a b c Louis Torres, "To the immortal name and memory of George Washington": The United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Construction of the Washington Monument, (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, [1984]).
  66. ^ "History of Beaver Dam Quarries" (PDF). Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  67. ^ "Marble quarries near Cockeysville, MD". Maps.google.com. January 1, 1970. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  68. ^ Charles W. Snell, A Brief History of the Washington Monument and Grounds, 1783–1978[dead link] (1978) 17–19.
  69. ^ "A Monumental Omission". Nationaltreasures.org. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  70. ^ Jacob, Judith M. (2005). The Washington Monument, A Technical History and Catalog of the Commemorative Stones. National Park Service. Retrieved June 12, 2011. 
  71. ^ The Cambrian, vol. XVII, p. 139. 1897.
  72. ^ "Laus Deo". Just4kidsmagazine.com. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  73. ^ "Religious significance of George Washington and the Washington memorial-Mostly Truth!". Truthorfiction.com. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  74. ^ The Washington Monument: A Technical History and Catalog of the Commemorative Stones p. 128.
  75. ^ Kadiasker Mustafa Izzet Efendi (1801 – 1876) Journal of Ottoman Calligraphy
  76. ^ Sister monuments: Hagia Sophia and Washington Monument
  77. ^ Christopher Hodapp (January 13, 2010). Deciphering the Lost Symbol: Freemasons, Myths and the Mysteries of Washington. Ulysses Press. ISBN 978-1-56975-773-4. 
  78. ^ Sandburg, Carl. "Washington Monument by Night". 

External links[edit]

Records
Preceded by
Cologne Cathedral
World's tallest structure
1884–1889

169.15 m

Succeeded by
Eiffel Tower