Washington Monument as the name denotes was built in honor of the first President of America George Washington as a tribute to his great military leadership and to show respect, and gratitude the nation had for one of the best Presidents of the U.S.A. It is the highest structure that stands in Washington D.C.
Fact 1 Location Of The Monument
The Washington Monument stands near the western end of the National Wall. This unique monument was designed by Robert Mills and completed by Thomas Casey along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Although construction work began as early as 1848, due to shortage of funds, the work had to be stopped. The second phase of construction of the Monument was finally finished in 1854.
Fact 2 Structure Of The Monument
The Washington Monument was completed in two phases. The first part of the construction began in 1848 and continued till 1854 and the second phase started in 1876 and ended in 1884. The enormous building is shaped like an Egyptian obelisk. It is 600-foot high and is surrounded by 100-foot columns. The design was unique and audacious and highly expensive. It is made of granite, marble, and bluestone gneiss and the time taken to complete this awesome monument was more than 36 years. One can climb to the topmost position and enjoy the view of about 30 to 40 miles if the weather is clear. This iconic building became accessible by common people also on the 9th of October, 1888.
Fact 2 Initial Stages Of The Monument
In 1833, a private organization, the Washington National Monument Society was formed that decided to fund the construction of this huge, incomparable monument to pay their homage to the first President. The design of Robert Mills was selected in 1845. Due to financial reasons and political changes the work was carried out in two phases. The site was chosen as early as 1791 but with the death of the President in 1799, the work of the building hastened and on the 4th of July in 1848 the cornerstone was laid amidst an elaborate ceremony.
Fact 3 Size Of Washington Monument
The Washington Monument weighed 81,120 tons and it stands as tall as 555′ 5-1/8″. The monument walls are nearly 15′ at the base to 18” thick at the upper shaft. The white marble blocks are brought from Maryland and some from Massachusetts. Maryland blue gneiss and Maine granite are also used here. There are 193 memorial stones set into the interior walls that were presented by societies, individuals, states, cities and various nations. There is an independent iron framework that consists of 896 steps that surround the elevator. These stairs guide visitors to the highest level from where they can view the entire city.
Fact 3 The Later Phase
The Washington Monument was inaugurated on the 21st of February1885, just a day before the President’s birthday. Although the monument was open to the public in 1886, it had to be closed down during 1887 for creating more protection. Later from 1888 everybody could visit it through the public elevator. Visitors could also see the inset commemorative stones in the walls and appreciation tokens sent by the admirers of Washington as well as the names of donors. There are 193 of such commemorative stones today.
Fact 4 Effects Of Earthquake
The earthquake that occurred in 2011 on August 23, shook the entire monument and visitors who were inside the monument that afternoon were thrown about by the intensity of the earthquake. There was great damage to the monument and many visitors were also injured from falling mortar and stones. However, the cracks and spalls, displaced joints and stones were immediately repaired and now it stands with all its glory.