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Washington Monument at Night

The Washington Monument

Written by Scott Messmore
Even today, the Washington Monument is the tallest free standing stone monolith in the world. Drawing a million visitors a year from all over the world, the Washington Monument is a focal point of the capital city. The Washington Monument is near the end of a multi-year restoration to repair years of wear and tear. All of the exterior caulking between the stones has been replaced with restoration work focusing on the monument's interior. Visitors will see a new and improved Washington Monument including a new elevator car with windows, new air conditioning and heating
and a complete replacement of the observation deck. The 555-foot tall monument to the father of our country contains an estimated 36,000 granite and marble stones that weigh 90,000 tons. The stones at the bottom of the monument are 15 feet across and taper to only 18 inches near the top.

Aluminum Peak for the Washington Monument

Surprisingly, the very tip of the Washington Monument is a small, 100-ounce pyramid made of aluminum. Originally emplaced as part of the structure's lightning protection apparatus, the aluminum pyramid was so rare in the late 19th century, that is was actually displayed before
The Washington Monument with Flags
the public at Tiffany's jewelers. Memorial stones from each state are emplaced in the monument. The State of Alaska donated a massive jade stone worth several million dollars according to the National Parks Service. Congress authorized a monument to George Washington in 1833 with construction starting in 1848. Political shenanigans and lack of funding left the monument incomplete for nearly a quarter of a century.The administration of President Ulysses S. Grant got the Washington National Monument Society to turn over control to Congress in 1876. The U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers started work two years later and President Chester A. Arthur formally opened the Washington Monument in 1885. The National Park Service assumed c

Truman First President to Ascend the Washington Monument

It wasn't until 1946 that an American president, Harry Truman, made the short journey to the top of the monument to peer out over Washington D.C. Visitors used to be able to climb the 897 steps to the top, but they were closed to climbing in 1971. In 1976, the stairs were closed for good. The large amount of visitors was causing wear and tear on the monument and park officials
Washington Monument in Reflecting Pool
were concerned about the health risks due to the 20-minute, 50- flight stair climb. The elevator ride is a short 75 seconds to the best view in the capital city. In 1994 a bronze replica of a statue of George Washington was placed at the monument to humanize the site. A statue of Washington had originally been approved by the Continental Congress in 1783, when old George was still alive.

Hours of Operation and Location

The Washington Monument is open from 8 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. from the months of April to September. The rest of the year visitor hours are from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Tickets to the monument are required but they can be picked up for free from a ticket kiosk on 15th Street near the monument's base. Ticketmaster of Washington D.C. also provides tickets in advance for a service fee.

For more information call the
Washington Monument at Night
park service at 202-426-6841.

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Last Updated: September 22, 2014