Washington Monument Honoring George Washington Photograph by David Iliff.
George Washington was a founding father of our country, commander of the Continental Army, and the first President of the United States. After his death in 1799, it was decided that a memorial would be built to honor him.
Unfortunately, 33 years passed before concerned citizens formed the Washington National Monument Society and began raising money to build the memorial.
This is a picture the original design of the Washington Monument as created by architect, Robert Mills. Millsplanned a 4-sided 600-foot tall pillar that narrowed near the top . The pillar was to be surrounded by 30 Greek columns topped with a huge sculpture of George Washington in a chariot. Photograph from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Benjamin B. French, Grand Master of the Masons, laid the cornerstone of Washington Monument on July 4, 1848.He used the same trowel that George Washington used during the Capitol’s cornerstone ceremony. Photograph from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Due to a lack of money, construction was very slow. The state of Alabama suggested giving a building stone instead of money. During this time, many states and groups gave memorial stones, which were placed on the inside walls .
From 1848 to 1854, the Washington Monument was built to a height of 156 feet. Unfortunately, because of a lack of money and the Civil War, construction on the monument stopped from 1854-1876. Photograph from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
In 1876, Congress decided to provide money for the completion of the monument. It took the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 4 years just to make the foundation stronger, so it could support the tall monument.
At this time, the design of Washington Monument was changed to save money and construction time. Which new design do you like best? Why?Which monument best represents the qualities of George Washington? Why?
The new plan did away with the columns and sculpture of George Washington in a chariot. The uncompleted part of the monument was changed to a simple pillar with a top that looked like a pyramid (obelisk). Photographs from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
You can see where the second section of the monument was added because they were unable to locate marble that matched the original marble from 1848.
On December 6, 1884, the capstone, which weighed 3,300 pounds, was set. Photograph from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Photograph from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
The inside the lobby of the Washington Monument features: A bas-relief of Washington above the elevator A bronze statue of George Washington next to the elevators
Can you go to the top of the monument? Now visitors can only take the elevator up to the top of the Washington Monument. It takes 70 seconds to reach the observation deck. Visitors used to be able to walk up the 898 steps to reach the observation deck.
This is one of the many beautiful views that can be seen from the observation deck of the Washington Memorial.
The Washington Monument is 555 feet, 5-1/8 inches tall. There are over 36,000 stones in the monument.The original elevator was steam-driven, and it took 10-12 minutes to reach the observation deck. The monument is an all-stone structure except for the steel beams that support the elevator shaft . I N T E R E S T I N G F A C T S
The Washington Monument has been repaired three times: in 1934, 1964 and 1998. The elevator that is used today was installed between 1998 to 2001. Photograph from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
On August 23, 2011, there was an earthquake in Virginia.As a result, some of the stones on the Washington Monument were chipped and cracked. It is closed to the public while repairs are made and should reopen in 2014. Photograph from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.