It is full of beautiful religious worship areas and unique American relics. Some points of interest include a moon rock, a Darth Vader gargoyle, and Helen Keller's resting place.
Reviewed March 17, 2013, What could be better than a cathedral built in modern times but in the traditional Gothic manner? Soaring arches, inspiring stained-glass windows, helpful docents, and easy underground parking on site.
Treat yourself and don't just go for a tour, go for a service, pray in your own way, and listen to the amazing acoustics. Reviewed March 16, 2013, The NationalCathedral is stunning and well worth a visit.
The “highlights” 30 minute tour (no cost--but everyone should make a donation upon entrance) was excellent--informative and welcoming). Just a quick bus ride down Connecticut from the red line metro stop (I can 't remember the station off the top of my head). The neighborhood around the cathedral is lovely too.
I chose to walk back to Dupont Circle (about 30-40 minutes), along Massachusetts Avenue to take in Embassy Row. Gorgeous, breathtaking. Can 't find enough words to describe.
An elevator provides transportation to the top floor, the 500' observation deck at the base of the pyramid ion. The observation deck provides views out two windows on the north, south, east, and west sides of the pyramid ion.
Stairs connect the observation deck with the first floor, but they are closed to the public. The interior walls are lined with commemorative stones from individuals, civic groups, cities, states, and countries that wanted to honor the memory of George Washington ; some of these stones are visible on the elevator descent trip.
When the monument was under construction in 1854, the WashingtonNationalMonument Society ran out of money and the project ground to a halt. Twenty-five years later, the U.S. Government took over and completed the upper two-thirds of the structure by 1884 using marble from a different quarry.
The two sections closely resembled each other at first, but time, wind, rain, and erosion have caused the marble sections to weather differently, thereby producing the difference in color. A third type of marble is also visible at the dividing line between the two main phases of construction.
Because it is an all-stone structure, the building cannot bend and move the way a steel skyscraper can. Most of the movement visitors detect is from the floor shaking from other people walking around and the elevator vibrations.
Steel beams were used to support the elevator shaft, but the structural elements of the WashingtonMonument are entirely stone. Including the foundation, the structure weighs an estimated 100,000 tons.
George Washington took the oath of office as First President of the United States on April 30, 1789. George Washington was sworn into office in an outdoor ceremony on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City on April 30, 1789.
President Washington was inaugurated for his second term on March 4, 1793, inside Congress Hall in Philadelphia. Although George Washington did not live in the White House, he chose its architect, Irishman James Hogan, and helped to determine its design, location, and development.
Location National Mall, Washington D.C., United StatesCoordinates 38°5322N77°27W / 38.88944°N 77.03528°W / 38.88944; -77.03528Coordinates : 38°5322N77°27W / 38.88944°N 77.03528°W / 38.88944; -77.03528 :6, 82, 86 Area106.01 acres (42.90 ha)Height555 ft (169 m)Built1848–1854, 1879–1884Visitors671,031 (in 2008)Governing body National Park Service Website WashingtonMonument Official name WashingtonMonument Designated October 15, 1966Reference no.66000035 Show map of the United Stateside WashingtonMonument is an obelisk within the National Mall in Washington, D.C., built to commemorate George Washington, once commander-in-chief of the Continental Army (1775–1784) in the American Revolutionary War and the first President of the United States (1789–1797).
Located almost due east of the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial, the monument, made of marble, granite, and blue stone gneiss, is both the world's tallest predominantly stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk, standing 554 feet 7 11 32 inches (169.046 m) tall according to the U.S. National Geodetic Survey (measured 2013–14) or 555 feet 5 1 8 inches (169.294 m) tall according to the National Park Service (measured 1884). It is the tallest monumental column in the world if all are measured above their pedestrian entrances.
Overtaking the Cologne Cathedral, it was the tallest structure in the world between 1884 and 1889, after which it was overtaken by the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Construction of the monument began in 1848 and was halted for a period of 23 years, from 1854 to 1877 due to a lack of funds, a struggle for control over the WashingtonNationalMonument Society, and the American Civil War.
The original design was by Robert Mills (1781–1855) of South Carolina, but he did not include his proposed colonnade due to a lack of funds, proceeding only with a bare obelisk. The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1848; the first stone was laid atop the unfinished stump on August 7, 1880; the capstone was set on December 6, 1884; the completed monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885; and officially opened October 9, 1888.
The marble pyramid ion has thin walls only 7 inches (18 cm) thick supported by six arches, two between opposite walls that cross at the center of the pyramid ion and four smaller corner arches. The top of the pyramid ion is a large marble capstone with a small aluminum pyramid at its apex with inscriptions on all four sides.
The upper 350 feet (106.7 m) of the walls, constructed during the second phase 1880–1884, are composed of finished marble surface stones, half of which project into the walls, partially backed by finished granite stones. These landings allowed many inscribed memorial stones of various materials and sizes to be easily viewed while the stairs were accessible (until 1976), plus one memorial stone between stairs that is difficult to view.
Two aluminum lightning rods connected via the elevator support columns to groundwater protect the monument. The monument's present foundation is 37 feet (11.3 m) thick, consisting of half of its original blue stone gneiss rubble encased in concrete.
At the northeast corner of the foundation, 21 feet (6.4 m) below ground, is the marble cornerstone, including a zinc case filled with memorabilia. Fifty American flags fly on a large circle of poles centered on the monument.
In 2001, a temporary screening facility was added to the entrance to prevent a terrorist attack. It was closed again for elevator system repairs, security upgrades, and mitigation of soil contamination from August 2016 to September 2019.
George Washington (1732–1799), hailed as the father of his country, and as the leader who was “first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen” (in eulogy by Maj. Gen. 'Light-Horse Harry' Lee at Washington's funeral, December 26, 1799), was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. Even his former enemy King George III called him “the greatest character of the age”.
At his death in 1799, he left a critical legacy: Washington was the unchallenged public icon of American military and civic patriotism. Starting with victory in the Revolution, there were many proposals to build a monument to Washington, beginning with an authorization in 1783 by the old Confederation Congress to erect an equestrian statue of the General in a future American national capital city.
After his December 1799 death, the United States Congress authorized a suitable memorial in the planned national capital then under construction since 1791, but the decision was reversed when the Democratic-Republican Party (Jeffersonian Republicans) took control of Congress in 1801 after the pivotal 1800 Election, with the first change of power between opposing political parties. Further political squabbling, along with the North–South division on the Civil War, blocked the completion of the WashingtonMonument 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. 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”.
On December 24, 1799, 10 days after Washington's death, a U.S. Congressional committee recommended a different type of monument. John Marshall (1755–1835), a Representative from Virginia (who later became Chief Justice of the United States, 1801–1835) proposed that a tomb be erected within the Capitol, and it was designed later to place such a crypt sepulcher below the rotunda of the great dome.
However, 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 from Mount Vernon prevented progress on any project. That year a large group of citizens formed the WashingtonNationalMonument Society.
Three years later, in 1836, after they had raised $28,000 in donations (equivalent to $1,000,000 in 2019), they announced a competition for the design of the memorial. 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 ... should blend strenuousness 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.
:2-2 The citizens of Baltimore had chosen him in 1814 to build one of the first monuments to George Washington originally planned for the former courthouse square in their port city, and he had designed a tall elaborately decorated Greek column with balconies, surmounted by a statue of the President. Mills' Baltimore monument with cornerstone laid and construction begun the following year of 1815, was however later simplified to a plain column shaft with a statue of a toga-clad Washington at the top when it was completed in 1829, but moved because of its height to the then rural hills north beyond the waterfront town awaiting the city's growth to catch up.
Mills also knew the capital well, being only 40 miles (65 kilometers) southwest of Baltimore, having just been chosen Architect of Public Buildings for Washington. A massive cylindrical pillar 70 feet (21 m) in diameter supported the obelisk at the center of the building.
The top of the portico of the building would feature Washington standing in a chariot holding the reins of six horses. Criticism of Mills's design and its estimated price tag of more than $1 million (in 1848 money, equivalent to $20,000,000 in 2019) caused the society to hesitate.
On April 11, 1848, the society decided, due to a lack of funds, to build only a simple plain obelisk. :15, 21 Surrounding each doorway were raised jambs, a heavy pediment, and entablature within which was carved an Egyptian-style winged sun and asps.
:23 :353+ Some of these details can be seen in the 1860 photograph below at Donations run out, after clicking on the image and viewing the original file at its highest magnification. This original design conformed to a massive temple which was to have surrounded the base of the obelisk, but because it was never built, the architect of the second phase of construction Thomas Lincoln Casey smoothed down the projecting jambs, pediment and entablature in 1885, walled up the west entrance with marble forming an alcove, and reduced the east entrance to 8 feet (2.4 m) high.
Also, during 1992–93 a limestone surround was installed at the east elevator entrance decorated with a winged sun and asps to mimic Mills's 1848 design. West side of Jefferson Pier with WashingtonMonument in background Excavation and initial construction Construction of the monument finally began three years later in 1848 with the excavation of the site, the laying of the cornerstone on the prepared bed, and laying the original foundation around and on top of the cornerstone, before the construction of its massive walls began the next year.
So the possibility remains that there were slaves who performed some necessary skilled labor for the monument.” According to historian Jesse Holland, it is very likely that African-American slaves were among the construction workers, given that slavery prevailed in Washington and its surrounding states at that time, and slaves were commonly used in public and private construction.
Gordon's arguments are valid for the second phase (1879–1888) after slavery was abolished, when every stone laid required dressing and polishing by a skilled stonemason. :5–6 However, Holland's views are valid for the first phase because most of its construction only required unskilled manual labor.
No information survives concerning the method used to lift stones that weighed several tons each during the first phase, whether by a manual winch or a steam engine. :17–23 The surviving information concerning slaves that built the core of the United States Capitol during the 1790s is not much help.
At the time, the District of Columbia outside of Georgetown was sparsely populated, so the federal government rented slaves from their owners who were paid a fee for their slaves' normal daily labor. Any overtime for Sundays, holidays, and nights was paid directly to the slaves which they could use for daily needs or to save to buy their freedom.
:9 Conversely, the first phase of the monument was constructed by a private entity, the WashingtonNationalMonument Society, which may not have been as magnanimous as the federal government, but most information was lost during the 1850s while two Societies vied for control of the monument. Useful information concerning the use of slaves during the major expansion of the Capitol during the 1850s, nearly contemporaneous with the monument's first phase, does not exist.
Only a few stones used in the first phase required a skilled stonemason, the marble blocks on the outer surface of the monument (their inner surfaces were left very rough) and those gneiss stones that form the rough inner walls of the monument (all other surfaces of those inner stones within the walls were left jagged). The vast majority of all gneiss stones laid during the first phase, those between the outer and inner surfaces of the walls, from very large to very small jagged stones, form a pile of rubble held together by a large amount of mortar.
The top surface of this rubble can be seen below at Walls in an 1880 drawing made just before the polished/rough marble and granite stones used in the second phase were laid atop it. Most of the gneiss stones used during the first phase were obtained from quarries in the upper Potomac River Valley.
Almost all the marble stones of the first and second phases came from two Maryland quarries about 20 miles (30 km) north of downtown Baltimore in rural Baltimore County where stone for their first WashingtonMonument was obtained. He who can resign power against the wishes of a people, has in his eye the bright example of Washington.
Donations run out The partially completed monument, photographed by Mathew Brady ; circa 1860Construction continued until 1854, when donations ran out and the monument had reached a height of 152 feet (46.3 m). At that time a memorial stone that was contributed by Pope Pius IX, called the Pope's Stone, was destroyed by members of the anti-Catholic, nativist American Party, better known as the Know-Nothings “, during the early morning hours of March 6, 1854 (a priest replaced it in 1982 using the Latin phrase “A Roma American” instead of the original stone's English phrase “Rome to America”).
This caused public contributions to the WashingtonNationalMonument Society to cease, so they appealed to Congress for money. The request had just reached the floor of the House of Representatives when the Know-Nothing Party seized control of the Society on February 22, 1855, a year after construction funds ran out.
Congress immediately tabled its expected contribution of $200,000 to the Society, effectively halting the Federal appropriation. To prevent future takeovers, the U.S. Congress incorporated the Society on February 22, 1859, with a stated charter and set of rules, procedures.
In 1876, the American Centennial of the Declaration of Independence, Congress agreed to appropriate another $200,000 to finally resume construction. 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”.
Monument plans and timeline of constructions attitude led people to submit alternative designs. Both the WashingtonNationalMonument Society and Congress held discussions about how the monument should be finished.
The Society considered five new designs, concluding that the one by William Wet more Story (1819–1895), seemed “vastly superior in artistic taste and beauty”. Finally, the members of the society agreed to abandon the colonnade and alter the obelisk, so it conformed to classical Egyptian proportions.
Resumption Construction resumed in 1879 under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Lincoln Casey of the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Casey redesigned the foundation, strengthening it, so it could support a structure that ultimately weighed more than 40,000 tons.
The first stone atop the unfinished stump was laid August 7, 1880, in a small ceremony attended by President Rutherford B. Hayes, Casey and a few others. The president placed a small coin on which he had scratched his initials and the date in the bed of wet cement at the 150-foot level before the first stone was laid on top of it.
:11–17 The bottom third of the monument is a slightly lighter shade than the rest of the construction because the marble was obtained from different quarries. P. H. McLaughlin setting the aluminum apex with Thomas Lincoln Casey (hands up)The WashingtonMonument almost complete around 1884The building of the monument proceeded quickly after Congress had provided sufficient funding.
In four years, it was completed, with the 100-ounce (2.83 kg) aluminum apex/lightning-rod being put in place on December 6, 1884. Over 800 people were present on the monument grounds to hear speeches during a frigid day by Ohio Senator John Sherman (1823–1900), the Rev.
Henderson Outer, William Wilson Corcoran (of the WashingtonNationalMonument Society) read by Dr. James C. Welling because Corcoran was unable to attend, Freemason Myron M. Parker, Col. Thomas Lincoln Casey of the Army Corps of Engineers, and President Chester A. Arthur. I do now .... in behalf of the people, receive this monument .... and declare it dedicated from this time forth to the immortal name and memory of George Washington.
After the speeches Lieutenant-General Philip Sheridan (1831–1888), Civil War Cavalry veteran and then General-in-Chief of the United States Army led a procession, which included the dignitaries and the crowd, past the Executive Mansion, now the White House, then via Pennsylvania Avenue to the east main entrance of the Capitol, where 21st President Chester Arthur (1829–1886, served 1881–1885) received passing troops. Then, in the House of Representatives Chamber at the U.S. Capitol, the president, his Cabinet, diplomats and others listened to Representative John Davis Long (1838–1915), (former Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Massachusetts and future Secretary of the Navy) read a speech written a few months earlier by Robert C. Winthrop (1809–1894), formerly the Speaker of the House of Representatives when the cornerstone was laid 37 years earlier in 1848, but now too ill to personally deliver his speech.
:234–260 A final speech was given by John W. Daniel (1842–1910), of Virginia, a well regarded lawyer, author and Representative (congressman), and Senator. The festivities concluded that evening with fireworks, both aerial and ground displays.
This monument is 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). For six months after its dedication, 10,041 people climbed the 900 steps and 47 large 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, and an average of 55,000 people per month were going to the top by 1888, only three years after its completion and dedication. The annual visitor count peaked at an average of 1.1 million people between 1979 and 1997.
In the early 1900s, material started oozing out between the outer stones of the first construction period below the 150-foot mark, and was referred to by tourists 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. The monument undergoing restoration in 1999For ten hours in December 1982, the WashingtonMonument and eight 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.
United States Park Police shot and killed Mayer. After this incident, the surrounding grounds were modified in places to restrict the possible unauthorized approach of motor vehicles.
During this time it was completely covered in scaffolding designed by the American architect Michael Graves (who was also responsible for the interior changes). The project included cleaning, repairing and repointing the monument's exterior and interior stonework.
New exhibits celebrating the life of George Washington, and the monument's place in history, were also added. The majority of the project's phases were completed by summer 2000, allowing the monument to reopen July 31, 2000.
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 194 memorial stones with their inscriptions 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 renovations were due partly to security concerns following the September 11, 2001, 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. On August 23, 2011, the WashingtonMonument sustained damage during the 5.8 magnitude 2011 Virginia earthquake ; over 150 cracks were found in the monument.
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. A block in the pyramid ion 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.
The Park Service said it was bringing in two structural engineering firms (Wis's, Janna, Esther Associates, Inc. and Tipping Mar Associates) with extensive experience in historic buildings and earthquake-damaged structures to assess the monument. 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.
A crack in the central stone of the west face of the pyramid ion was 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and 4 feet (1.2 m) long. 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.
On September 27, 2011, Denali National Park ranger Brandon Latham arrived to assist four climbers belonging to a “difficult access” team from Wis's, Janna, Esther Associates. 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.
After Hurricane Irene hit the area on August 27, water was discovered inside the memorial, leading the Park Service to suspect there was more undiscovered damage. The rappelled used radios to report what they found to engineering experts on the ground.
Wis's, Janna, Esther climber Dave Merle took three hours to set up the rappelling equipment and set up a barrier around the monument's lightning rod system atop the pyramid ion; it was the first time the hatch in the pyramid ion had been open since 2000. In addition to the 4-foot (1.2 m) long west crack, the inspection found several corner cracks and surfaces palls (pieces of stone broken loose) at or near the top of the monument, and more loss of joint mortar lower down the monument.
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.
The National Park Service said that it would soon begin sealing the exterior cracks on the monument to protect it from rain and snow. On July 9, 2012, the National Park Service announced that the monument would be closed for repairs until 2014.
The National Park Service hired construction management firm Hill International in conjunction with joint-venture partner Louis Berger Group to provide coordination between the designer, Wis's, Janna, and Esther Associates, the general contractor Period, and numerous stakeholders. NPS said a portion of the plaza at the base of the monument would be removed and scaffolding constructed around the exterior.
Some stone pieces saved during the 2011 inspection would be refastened to the monument, while “Dutchman patches” would be used in other places. Several of the stone lips that help hold the pyramid ion's 2,000-pound (910 kg) exterior slabs in place were also damaged, so engineers installed stainless steel brackets to more securely fasten them to the monument.
The monument was closed again in September 2016 due to reliability issues with the elevator system. On December 2, 2016, the National Park Service announced that the monument would be closed until 2019 in order to modernize the elevator.
The $2–3 million project was to correct the elevator's ongoing mechanical, electrical and computer issues, which had shuttered the monument since August 17. The final months of closure were for mitigation of possibly contaminated underground soil thought to have been introduced in the 1880s.
January 2021 On January 11, 2021, a few days after the storming of the United States Capitol, the National Park Service announced a two-week closure of the monument due to “credible threats to visitors and park resources”. The cornerstone was laid with great ceremony at the northeast corner of the lowest course or step of the old foundation on July 4, 1848.
Robert Mills, the architect of the monument, stated in September 1848, “The foundations are now brought up nearly to the surface of the ground; the second step being nearly completed, which covers up the corner stone.” :B-36–B-39 :70, 95–96 If the cornerstone was not moved during the strengthening of the foundation in 1879–80, its upper surface would now be 21 feet (6.4 m) below the pavement just outside the northeast corner of the shaft.
During the strengthening process, about half by volume of the periphery of the lowest seven of eight courses or steps of the old foundation (gneiss rubble) was removed to provide good footing for the buttress. Although a few diagrams, pictures and descriptions of this process exist, the fate of the cornerstone is not mentioned.
The hole was covered by a copper plate inscribed with the date of the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776), the date the cornerstone was laid (July 4, 1848), and the names of the managers of the WashingtonNationalMonument Society. The memorabilia in the zinc case included items associated with the monument, the city of Washington, the national government, state governments, benevolent societies, and George Washington, plus miscellaneous publications, both governmental and commercial, a coin set, and a Bible, totaling 73 items or collections of items, as well as 71 newspapers containing articles relating to George Washington or the monument.
The ceremony began with a parade of dignitaries in carriages, marching troops, fire companies, and benevolent societies. :CHP 2 :44–48:16–17, 45–47 A long oration was delivered by the Speaker of the House of Representatives Robert C. Winthrop.
In attendance were President James K. Polk and other federal, state and local government officials, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, Mrs. Dolley Madison, Mrs. John Quincy Adams, and George Washington Parke Custis, among 15,000 to 20,000 others, including a bald eagle. States, cities, foreign countries, benevolent societies, other organizations, and individuals have contributed 194 memorial stones, all inserted into the east and west interior walls above stair landings or levels for easy viewing, except one on the south interior wall between stairs that is difficult to view.
:”193” on 1 The Historic American Buildings Survey (HAS, 1994) showed the location of 193 “memorial stones”, but did not describe or name any. Unusual materials include native copper (Michigan), :147 pipestones (Minnesota), :153 petrified wood (Arizona), :213 and jadeite (Alaska).
Utah contributed one stone as a territory and another as a state, both with inscriptions that include its pre-territorial name, Desert, both located on the 220-foot level. The stone, imported from Wales, was donated by Welsh citizens of New York.
:128 It combines the works of two eminent calligraphers : an imperial tundra by Mustafa RAM's student Hakim Effendi, and an inscription in Mali ta'liq script by Kadasker Mustafa Inlet Effendi, the calligrapher who wrote the giant medallions at Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. One stone was donated by the Ryukyu Kingdom and brought back by Commodore Matthew C. Perry, but never arrived in Washington (it was replaced in 1989).
:210 Many of the stones donated for the monument carried inscriptions which did not commemorate George Washington. :140 (George Washington himself had owned a whiskey distillery which operated at Mount Vernon after he left the presidency.
Aluminum apex showing inscriptions on its east (left) and north (right) faces. Lightning rods not shown. The aluminum apex, composed of a metal that at the time was as rare and valuable as silver, was cast by William Bismuth of Philadelphia.
It weighed 100 ounces (2.83 kg) before lightning strikes removed a small amount of aluminum from its tip and sides. Spectral analysis in 1934 showed that it was composed of 97.87% aluminum with the rest impurities.
It has a shallow depression in its base to match a slightly raised area atop the small upper surface of the marble capstone, which aligns the sides of the apex with those of the capstone, and the downward protruding lip around that area prevents water from entering the joint. :83–84 It has a large hole in the center of its base to receive a threaded 1.5-inch (3.8 cm) diameter copper rod which attaches it to the monument and used to form part of the lightning protection system.
:91 In 2015 the National Geodetic Survey reported the coordinates of the 1 mm dimple atop the aluminum apex as 38°5322.08920N77°26.92910W / 38.8894692222°N 77.0352580833°W / 38.8894692222; -77.0352580833 (WGS 84). From 1885 to 1934 a wide gold-plated copper band that held eight short lightning rods, two per side but not at its corners, covered most of the inscriptions, which were damaged and illegible as shown in the accompanying picture made in 1934.
A new band including eight long lightning rods, one at each corner and one at the middle of each side, was added in 1934 and removed and discarded in 2013. Even though the inscriptions are no longer covered, no attempt was made to repair them when the apex was accessible in 2013.
H. McLaughlin. Repaired 1934, National Park Service, Department of the Interior. Although most printed sources, Harvey (1903), :295 Olszewski (1971), :app C Torres (1984), :82, 84 and the Historic Structure Report (2004), :4-6–4-7 refer to the original 1884 inscriptions, the National Geodetic Survey (2015) :90–95 refers to both the 1884 and 1934 inscriptions. All sources print them according to their own editorial rules, resulting in excessive capitalization (Harvey, Olszewski, and NGS) and inappropriate line breaks.
In October 2007, it was discovered that the display of this replica was positioned so that the Laws Do (Latin for “praise be to God”) inscription could not be seen and Laws Do was omitted from the placard describing the apex. The National Park Service rectified the omission by creating a new display.
The pyramid ion, the pointed top 55 feet (17 m) of the monument, was originally designed with an 8.9-inch (23 cm) tall inscribed aluminum apex which served as a single lightning rod, installed December 6, 1884. Six months later on June 5, 1885, lightning damaged the marble blocks of the pyramid ion, so a net of gold-plated copper rods supporting 200 3-inch (7.6 cm) gold-plated, platinum-tipped copper points spaced every 5 feet (1.5 m) was installed over the entire pyramid ion.
:3-10–3-11, 3-15, figs 3.17, 3.23 :CHP 6 :91–92 The original net included a gold-plated copper band attached to the aluminum apex by four large set screws which supported eight closely spaced vertical points that did not protrude above the apex. In 1934 these eight short points were lengthened to extend them above the apex by 6 inches (15 cm).
Until it was removed, the original lightning protection system was connected to the tops of the four iron columns supporting the elevator with large copper rods. Even though the aluminum apex is still connected to the columns with large copper rods, it is no longer part of the lightning protection system because it is now disconnected from the present lightning rods which shield it.
The two lightning rods present since 2013 are connected to the iron columns with two large braided aluminum cables leading down the surface of the pyramid ion near its southeast and northwest corners. The bottom of the iron columns are connected to groundwater below the monument via four large copper rods that pass through a 2-foot (0.6 m) square well half filled with sand in the center of the foundation.
Cross-section of rubble in shaft at 150 feet and typical of rubble below 150 featuring the first phase of construction (1848–1854), the walls were built with blue stone gneiss rubble, ranging from very large irregular stones having a cross-section of about 5 by 10 feet (1.5 m × 3.0 m) down to spells (broken pieces of stone) all embedded in a large amount of mortar. The inner surface has disorderly rows of smaller roughly dressed blue stone gneiss.
During the second phase (1879–1884), the walls were constructed of smoothly dressed (ashlar) large marble and granite blocks (rectangular cuboids) laid down in an orderly manner (Flemish bond) with thick joints. Between the 150- and 160-foot levels the inner walls rapidly slope outward, increasing the shaft well from 25 feet 1 inch square to 31 feet 5 1 2 inches (9.59 m) square with a corresponding decrease in the thickness of the walls and their weight.
:sheets 4–5 :23 The second phase walls at the 160-foot level were 8 feet 7 1 2 inches (2.63 m) thick, which, combined with the larger shaft well, yields an outer dimension of 48 feet 8 1 2 inches (14.85 m) square at that level. :3-7 The second phase interior walls have rounded corners (2-foot (0.61 m) radii).
The walls of the entire shaft (combined first and second phases) are 500 feet 5 1 8 inches (152.530 m) high. The quarry was named for the Texas Station (no longer extant) and 19th-century town on the Northern Central Railway.
The second phase of construction was under the direction of Lt Col/Col Thomas Lincoln Casey of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, who removed two defective courses added by the Know-Nothings and the last 152-foot course added by Dougherty before Casey began his construction. During the second phase the quarry was operated by Hugh Sis son, but is now flooded, is called Beaver dam Pond, and is the home of the Beaver Dam Swimming Club.
Rib structure of pyramid ion with letter designations for courses marble capstone of the pyramid ion is a truncated pyramid with a cubical keystone projecting from its base and a deep groove surrounding the keystone. The inside upper edges of the topmost slabs on the four faces of the pyramid ion rest on the keystone and in the groove.
It has a large vertical hole through which a 1.5-inch (3.8 cm) threaded copper rod passes and screws into the base of the apex, which used to form part of its lightning protection system. The keystone and groove occupy so much of its base that only a small horizontal area near its outer edge remains.
The weight of the capstone is transferred to both the inner and outer portions of the ship lap upper edges of the slabs. The marble pyramid ion has an extremely complex construction to save weight yet remain strong.
Its surface slabs or panels are usually only 7 inches (18 cm) thick (with small thick and thin portions) and generally do not support the weight of slabs above them, instead transferring their own weight via 1-foot (30 cm) wide internal marble ribs to the shaft's walls. Twelve such courses, the internal ribs, the marble capstone, and the aluminum apex comprise the pyramid ion.
All are freestanding above 500 feet, relying on mortise and tenon joints to attach neighboring stones. Each such arch supports a pair of square corner stones, one above the other totaling one course in height.
It is 1 1 4 inches (3.2 cm) above the marble base of the pyramid ion and the top of the shaft walls. All were originally provided with thin marble shutters in a bronze frame each of which could be opened inward, one left and the other right per wall.
:3-11 After two people committed suicide by jumping through the open windows in the 1920s, hinged horizontal iron bars were added to them in 1929. :3-14 :85, 102 A ninth opening in a slab on the south face just below the capstone is provided for access to the outside of the pyramid ion.
In 1931, four red aircraft warning lights were installed, one per face in one of its observation windows. Pilots complained that they could not be easily seen, so the monument was floodlit on all sides as well.
:2-14, B-39, B-41, B-52–B-53 In 1958, eight 14-inch (36 cm) diameter holes for new red aircraft warning lights were bored, one above each window near the top edge of the fourth course of slabs (516-foot level) in the pyramid ion. One is the year “1884” on the underside of the cruciform keystone; the other is at the same level as that keystone on the north face of the west center rib containing the names and titles of the four highest ranked builders.
Additionally, the internal inscription does not use cursive writing and all letters in all names are capitals. Cross-section of foundation, both old and reinforced, showing dimensions first phase began with the excavation of about 7 feet 8 inches (2.3 m) of topsoil down to a level of loam, consisting of equal parts of sand and clay, hard enough to require picks to break it up.
The rest of the foundation was then constructed of blue stone gneiss rubble and spells, with every crevice filled with lime mortar. During the second phase, after determining that the proposed weight of the monument was too great for the old foundation to safely bear, the thickness of the walls atop the unfinished stump was reduced and the foundation was strengthened by adding a large reinforced concrete slab below the perimeter of the old foundation to increase the monument's load bearing area two and one half times.
The area at the base of the second phase foundation is 15,992 square feet (1,485.7 m 2). The strengthened foundation (old foundation and concrete slab) has a total depth of 36 feet 10 inches (11.2 m) below the bottom of the lowest course of marble blocks (now below ground), and 38 feet (11.6 m) below the entry lobby floor.
Casey reported that nowhere did the load exceed 9 long tons per square foot (140 psi; 970 PA) and did not exceed 3 long tons per square foot (47 psi; 320 PA) near the outer perimeter. To properly distribute the load from the shaft to slab, about half by volume of the outer periphery of the old rubble foundation below its top step was removed.
A continuous sloping reinforced concrete buttress encircles what remains. This buttress rests in a depression (triangular cross-section) on the top surface of the concrete slab.
The drifts were filled with reinforced concrete with depressions or dowel stones on their sides to interlock the sections. During 1887–88, a knoll was constructed around the terrace tapering out roughly 300 feet (90 m) onto the surrounding terrain.
This earthen terrace and knoll serves as an additional buttress for the foundation. North interior wall with its stairs and their wire screening. The monument is filled with ironwork, consisting of its stairs, elevator columns and associated tie beams, none of which supports the weight of the stonework.
Originally, visitors entered and exited the west side of the elevator on the observation floor, causing congestion. So the large landing at the 490-foot level was expanded to a full floor and the original spiral stair in the northeast corner between the 490- and 500-foot levels was replaced by two spiral stairs in the northeast and southeast corners.
:sheet 31–35 :61, 74 The stairs and elevator are supported by four wrought iron columns each. Three stairs with small landings rise from the entry lobby floor to the 30-foot level successively along the north, west and south interior walls.
As initially constructed, the interior was relatively open with two-rail handrails, but a couple of suicides and an accidental fall prompted the addition of tall wire screening (7 feet (2.1 m) high with a large diamond mesh) on the inside edge of the stairs and landings in 1929. :2-13, 2-15, 3-20–3-21, B-44, B-47, B-48 :102, 107–8 During 1997–2000, the wire screening at three platforms was replaced by large glass panels to allow visitors on the elevator to view three clusters of memorial stones that were synchronously lit as the elevator automatically slowed as it passed them during its descent.
Forty-eight American flags (one for each state then in existence) were flown on wooden flag poles on Washington's birthday since 1920 and later on Independence Day, Memorial Day, and other special occasions until early 1958. In 1958 fifty 25-foot (7.6 m) tall aluminum flag poles (anticipating Alaska and Hawaii) were installed, evenly spaced around a 260-foot (79 m) diameter circle.
In the 2004 grounds renovation, two large circles were added to the landscaping with the obelisk in the intersection or Venice Pisces. The monument's Venice Pisces is not ideal because neither circle passes through the center of its neighbor.
The monument stands 554 feet 7 11 32 inches (169.046 m) tall according to the National Geodetic Survey (measured 2013–14) or 555 feet 5 1 8 inches (169.294 m) tall according to the National Park Service (measured 1884). The tallest masonry structure in the world is the brick Anaconda Smelter Stack in Montana at 585 feet 1 1 2 inches (178.35 m) tall.
A low-profile ha-ha wall surrounds the monument In 2001, a temporary visitor security screening center was added to the east entrance of the WashingtonMonument 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.
On March 6, 2014, the National Capital Planning Commission approved a new visitor screening facility to replace the temporary one. The 785-square-foot (72.9 m 2) 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. A 0.5-inch (1.3 cm) airspace will exist between the inner and outer glass walls to help insulate the facility.
The United States Commission of Fine Arts approved the aesthetic design of the screening facility in June 2013. A recessed trench wall known as a ha-ha has been built to minimize the visual impact of a security barrier surrounding the monument.
After the September 11 attacks and another unrelated terror threat at the monument, authorities had put up a circle of temporary Jersey barriers to prevent large motor vehicles from approaching. The unsightly barrier was replaced by a less-obtrusive low 30-inch (76 cm) granite stone wall that doubles as a seating bench and also incorporates lighting.
The installation received the 2005 Park/Landscape Award of Merit from the American Society of Landscape Architects. A traditional method is above a part of the monument comparable to ground level.
The CT BUH states the height of a building must be measured above the “level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance”. The San Jacinto Monument has a surveyed height of 567.31 feet (172.916 m) from its footing to the top of its beacon.
However, the architect of the monument, Albert C. Finn, stated, “San Jacinto ... is actually 552 feet from the first floor to the top of the beacon” ... in the “customary way” of measuring such things. The monument is made of reinforced concrete, not stone, although it has a facade of limestone.
A stepped terrace elevates its pedestrian entrance, also on its east side, above this ground level. The tower is made of reinforced concrete, not stone, although it has a facade of granite.
A metal cage holding many panels of red glass in the shape of a flame, internally illuminated, surmounting a gold-colored “fuel chamber”, occupies its top 66 feet (20 m). ^ a b c Several heights have been specified, all of which exclude the foundation whose top is 15 feet 8 inches (4.78 m) above the pre-construction ground level.
554 feet 7 11 32 inches (169.046 m) according to the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) : 5 using the criteria of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CT BUH), that is, from the “level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance” to the highest point of the building. This height is 22.0 centimeters (8 5 8 in) above four “CASEY marks”, 2 1 2 -inch-diameter (6.4 cm) brass bolt heads whose shafts are inserted vertically into the topmost level of the foundation just outside the four corners of the monument.
These CASEY marks were set flush with the lower surface of the marble blocks. The NGS thinks they were likely used by Col. Thomas Lincoln Casey, the engineer in charge of construction, to determine the traditional height in 1884.
: 13, 56, 65, 82–84 The highest point of the monument is a one millimeter diameter dimple atop the aluminum apex. Measured and reported in 1884 by Col. Thomas Lincoln Casey, the engineer in charge of construction.
It was measured from the top of the foundation (the lowest marble joint or the door-sills of the two empty doorways), which was in place in 1884. 554 feet 11 1 2 inches (169.151 m) according to architectural drawings in the Historic American Buildings Survey (1994), pavement at shaft to tip.
None of these heights include a set of lightning rods surrounding the monument's aluminum apex. In 2013 a new set of lightning rods was installed which protrude above the apex by about one foot (0.3 m).
^ L'Enfant identified himself as “Peter Charles L'Enfant” during most of his life, while residing in the United States. 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.
However, during the early 1900s, the then French ambassador to the U.S., Jean Jules Jusserand, popularized the use of L'Enfant's birth name, “Pierre Charles L'Enfant”. 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.
Some stones have small amounts of black paint, gold or silver within their letters. The level of a marble course in the walls is named by the height of its upper surface or joint, in multiples of 2 feet (61 cm), above the lower surface (zero feet) of the lowest marble course in the walls (now below ground), which rests on the old foundation and is at the same height as four Casey marks (the tops of four brass bolts inserted vertically into the top of the old foundation).
The level of a marble course in the pyramid ion is similar to those in the walls except that they are in multiples of 4 feet (122 cm). Historic American Buildings Survey, Washington Monument, HAS DC-428 (text) (PDF).
Archived March 4, 2016, at the Payback Machine, 2015, picture of precise spot used. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w John Milner Associates, Historic Structure Report: Washington Monument Archived June 20, 2015, at the Payback Machine, 2004 (HER) ^ a b c d e f g h i j Areola, Robert R.; Locket, Dana L.; Sahara, Mark; Vazquez, Jose Raul (1994).
Historic American Buildings Survey, Washington Monument, HAS DC-428 (drawings). ^ a b “Frequently Asked Questions about the Washington Monument by the National Park Service”.
Lincoln Casey, “report of operations upon the Washington Monument for the year ” in Letter from William W. Corcoran, Chairman of the Joint Commission for the Completion of the Washington Monument, transmitting the annual report of the Commission, December 19, 1884, U.S. Congressional Serial Set, Vol. Available for free in most large United States libraries in government documents or online.
^ Paul Gervais Bell Jr., “Monumental Myths” Archived March 4, 2016, at the Payback Machine, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, vol. 13–14 ^ Marking a people's love, an article from The New York Times published February 22, 1885.
^ a b Michael D. Hoover, The origins and history of the Washington Monument flag display, 1992 Archived June 20, 2015, at the Payback Machine ^ a b National Park Service and National Capital Planning Commission. ^ Kirk Savage, Monument Wars: Washington, D.C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape (2009) pp 32–45 ^ George Cochrane Hazleton, The national capitol: its architecture, art and history (1902) p. 288.
^ a b Washington National Monument, April 19, 1872, U.S. Congressional Serial Set, Vol. Available for free in most large United States libraries in government documents or online.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Frederick L. Harvey, History of the Washington National Monument and Washington National Monument Society, Congressional Serial Set, volume 4436, 57th Congress, 2nd session, Senate Doc. ^ Richard G. Carrot, The Egyptian Revival, 1978, plate 33 ^ a b c , Letter from the Joint Commission for Completion of the Washington Monument, transmitting their annual report.
December 15, 1885, Congressional Serial Set, volume 2333, 49th Congress, 1st session, Senate Doc. Available for free in most large United States libraries in government documents or online.
^ 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. Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington, D.C., contains an inlay of the central portion of L'Enfant's plan and of its legends.
Peter Charles L'Enfant: vision, honor, and male friendship in the early American Republic. ^ Washington Monument page in “American Presidents” section of official website of U.S. National Park Service.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Judith M. Jacob, The Washington Monument : A technical history and catalog of the commemorative stones Archived June 20, 2015, at the Payback Machine, 2005. The walls of the monument range in thickness from 15' at the base to 18' at the upper shaft.
A slight color change is perceptible at the 150' level near where construction slowed in 1854. New York, N.Y.: A Forge Book: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.
^ Edward Chaney, “Roma Britannica and the Cultural Memory of Egypt: Lord Roundel 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.
^ Washington Monument attacked by Geological Tuberculosis” Archived September 2, 2016, at the Payback Machine Popular Mechanics, December 1911, pp. “Disasters Washington Monument Indefinitely Closes After Earthquake Causes Cracks”.
Washington Monument Elevator Damage Inspected as Earthquake's Toll Is Assessed”. “Weather May Delay Washington Monument Rappelling” Associated Press.
^ Washington Monument Earthquake Update Archived August 27, 2016, at the Payback Machine, NPS, page contains news releases, a picture, video, and images of the earthquake and damage ^ Cohn, Alicia. “ ^ Freed, Benjamin R. Washington Monument Nearly Topped Out, Will Be Lighted in June”.
^ 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.
Retrieved January 4, 2017 ^ Hedge, Dana; Duane, Michael E. (September 26, 2016). “ Washington Monument reopening delayed by possible soil contamination”.
^ M., “The Washington Monument, and the Lightning Stroke of June 5” Archived September 2, 2016, at the Payback Machine, Science 5 (1885) 517–518. ^ Gabriel Escobar, “Workers prepare to fill a tall order”, Washington Post Tuesday, October 13, 1998, page B1.
^ a b Charles W. Snell, A Brief History of the Washington Monument and Grounds, 1783–1978 Archived June 20, 2015, at the Payback Machine (1978) 17–19. ^ Download Conversion Factors Archived August 29, 2016, at the Payback Machine Oregon State University.
^ Archived April 30, 2016, at the Payback Machine (from the OLIN website) ^ Monument Security (from the American Society of Landscape Architects website, ASIA awards 2006) ^ Risk Management Series: Site and Urban Design for Security. The Family Guide To Washington D.C.: All the Best Hotels, Restaurants, Sites, and Attractions.
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