Washington Monument

Posted by WASHINGTON MONUMENT on 7/24/2003 4:33:53 PM | Views: 285 |

Washington Monument

The American Revolution was still recent news in 1783 when the Confederation Congress decided to erect an appropriate monument to the victorious General George Washington. However, the Washington Monument remained just an idea until Independence Day 1848, when President James Polk attended the ceremonial placement of the cornerstone, about 100 yards east of the geographic center of the original District of Columbia.

A plan to build the monument in the exact center of the District was foiled because the ground at that location was too marshy. For the next six years construction proceeded, and a white marble obelisk rose 170 feet before funding ran out and work was suspended for nearly 20 years. When construction resumed, white stone from the original quarry was no longer available. Despite an extensive search the color could not be perfectly matched and a noticeable line appeared at the point where the project resumed.

Finally, in 1884, more than a century after the monument was first proposed, a 3,300 pound capstone was placed atop what then became the tallest building in the world at 550 feet. Three years later the Washington Monument was opened to the public, but the rickety steam elevator was for men only, considered too dangerous for women, who were invited to hike the 898 steps to the top. Today a safer, faster one-minute elevator ride is available to all who wish take in the stunning views from the observation deck.




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