Friday, June 22, 2007
Located in the center of the National Mall, the Washington Monument is the memorial that was constructed to pay homage to America's first president, George Washington. Standing at 555 feet, the monument is constructed of marble, granite and sandstone. Designed by architect Robert Mills, the monument took 36 years to build and cost $1 million. Construction began in 1848 and was completed in 1884. At the time of its completion, it was the world's tallest structure--a distinction it held until 1889, when the Eiffel Tower was completed in Paris.
The original design was meant to include a pantheon, but construction was repeatedly delayed--the result of a continual lack of funds and the Civil War. If you look closely at the monument, you can see the obelisk was built in five stages as the marble was cut at different periods during the construction resulting in inconsistent shades. It is particularly easy to see the gradations after a rain storm.
The Washington Monument is surrounded by 50 flags representing each of the states in the union. It is open to the public year-round except on July 4th and Christmas Day. Admission is free but you must obtain timed-tickets from the ticket booth located at 15th Street and Independence Avenue SW (down the terraced hillside to the northeast of the monument.)
Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential (Janet M. Kincaid, 06/07)