Washington Monument

Washington Monument

Overview
The Washington Monument is an obelisk
Obelisk
An obelisk is a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top, and is said to resemble a petrified ray of the sun-disk. A pair of obelisks usually stood in front of a pylon...

 near the west end of the National Mall
National Mall
The National Mall is an open-area national park in downtown Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The National Mall is a unit of the National Park Service , and is administered by the National Mall and Memorial Parks unit...

 in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, built to commemorate the first U.S. president, General George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

. The monument, made of marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

, granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

, and bluestone gneiss
Gneiss
Gneiss is a common and widely distributed type of rock formed by high-grade regional metamorphic processes from pre-existing formations that were originally either igneous or sedimentary rocks.-Etymology:...

, is both the world's tallest stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk, standing 555 foot.
There are taller monumental columns, but they are neither all stone nor true obelisks. group=n name=column>The Washington Monument is the third tallest monumental column in the world after the San Jacinto Monument
San Jacinto Monument
The San Jacinto Monument is a high column located on the Houston Ship Channel in unincorporated Harris County, Texas near the city of La Porte. The monument is topped with a 220-ton star that commemorates the site of the Battle of San Jacinto, the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution...

 in Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 and the Juche Tower
Juche Tower
The Juche Tower is a monument in Pyongyang, North Korea. The tower is named after the principle of Juche, developed by Kim Il Sung as a blend of autarky, self-reliance, nationalism, isolationism, Korean traditionalism, and Marxism-Leninism.Completed in 1982, it is sited on the eastern bank of the...

 in North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

.
  • The San Jacinto Monument is taller by 11.9 feet (3.6 m), but it is made of reinforced concrete
    Reinforced concrete
    Reinforced concrete is concrete in which reinforcement bars , reinforcement grids, plates or fibers have been incorporated to strengthen the concrete in tension. It was invented by French gardener Joseph Monier in 1849 and patented in 1867. The term Ferro Concrete refers only to concrete that is...

    , not stone, even though it has a facade of limestone.
  • The Juche Tower is taller by less than a meter, but its top 20 meters are metal, not stone.

It is also the tallest structure in Washington D.C. It was designed by Robert Mills
Robert Mills (architect)
Robert Mills , most famously known for designing the Washington Monument, is sometimes called the first native born American to become a professional architect, though Charles Bulfinch perhaps has a clearer claim to this honor...

, an architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

 of the 1840s.
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Encyclopedia
The Washington Monument is an obelisk
Obelisk
An obelisk is a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top, and is said to resemble a petrified ray of the sun-disk. A pair of obelisks usually stood in front of a pylon...

 near the west end of the National Mall
National Mall
The National Mall is an open-area national park in downtown Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The National Mall is a unit of the National Park Service , and is administered by the National Mall and Memorial Parks unit...

 in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, built to commemorate the first U.S. president, General George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

. The monument, made of marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

, granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

, and bluestone gneiss
Gneiss
Gneiss is a common and widely distributed type of rock formed by high-grade regional metamorphic processes from pre-existing formations that were originally either igneous or sedimentary rocks.-Etymology:...

, is both the world's tallest stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk, standing 555 foot.
There are taller monumental columns, but they are neither all stone nor true obelisks. group=n name=column>The Washington Monument is the third tallest monumental column in the world after the San Jacinto Monument
San Jacinto Monument
The San Jacinto Monument is a high column located on the Houston Ship Channel in unincorporated Harris County, Texas near the city of La Porte. The monument is topped with a 220-ton star that commemorates the site of the Battle of San Jacinto, the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution...

 in Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 and the Juche Tower
Juche Tower
The Juche Tower is a monument in Pyongyang, North Korea. The tower is named after the principle of Juche, developed by Kim Il Sung as a blend of autarky, self-reliance, nationalism, isolationism, Korean traditionalism, and Marxism-Leninism.Completed in 1982, it is sited on the eastern bank of the...

 in North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

.
  • The San Jacinto Monument is taller by 11.9 feet (3.6 m), but it is made of reinforced concrete
    Reinforced concrete
    Reinforced concrete is concrete in which reinforcement bars , reinforcement grids, plates or fibers have been incorporated to strengthen the concrete in tension. It was invented by French gardener Joseph Monier in 1849 and patented in 1867. The term Ferro Concrete refers only to concrete that is...

    , not stone, even though it has a facade of limestone.
  • The Juche Tower is taller by less than a meter, but its top 20 meters are metal, not stone.

It is also the tallest structure in Washington D.C. It was designed by Robert Mills
Robert Mills (architect)
Robert Mills , most famously known for designing the Washington Monument, is sometimes called the first native born American to become a professional architect, though Charles Bulfinch perhaps has a clearer claim to this honor...

, an architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

 of the 1840s. The actual construction of the monument began in 1848 but was not completed until 1884, almost 30 years after the architect's death. This hiatus in construction happened because of co-option by the Know Nothing party, a lack of funds, and the intervention of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. A difference in shading of the marble, visible approximately 150 feet (45.7 m) or 27% up, shows where construction was halted for a number of years. The cornerstone
Cornerstone
The cornerstone concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.Over time a cornerstone became a ceremonial masonry stone, or...

 was laid on July 4, 1848; the capstone
Coping (architecture)
Coping , consists of the capping or covering of a wall.A splayed or wedge coping slopes in a single direction; a saddle coping slopes to either side of a central high point....

 was set on December 6, 1884, and the completed monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885. It officially opened October 9, 1888. Upon completion, it became the world's tallest structure, a title previously held by the Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Cologne, Germany. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It is renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and is a World Heritage Site...

. The monument held this designation until 1889, when the Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is a puddle iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. Built in 1889, it has become both a global icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world...

 was completed in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. The monument stands due east of the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial is an American memorial built to honor the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It is located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The architect was Henry Bacon, the sculptor of the main statue was Daniel Chester French, and the painter of the interior...

.

The monument was damaged during the Virginia earthquake of August 23, 2011
2011 Virginia earthquake
The 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred on August 23, 2011, at 1:51 pm EDT in the Piedmont region of the U.S. state of Virginia. The epicenter, in Louisa County, was northwest of Richmond and south-southwest of the town of Mineral...

; it remains closed to the public indefinitely while the structure is assessed and repaired.

Why Washington


Hailed as the father of his country, and the leader who was "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen", George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 (1732–1799) was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1797, leading the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander in chief of the Continental Army, and presiding over the writing of the Constitution in 1787. As the unanimous choice to serve as the first President of the United States, he built a strong and financially secure nation that earned the respect of the world.

In colonial Virginia
History of Virginia
The history of Virginia began with settlement of the geographic region now known as the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States thousands of years ago by Native Americans. Permanent European settlement began with the establishment of Jamestown in 1607, by English colonists. As tobacco emerged...

, Washington was born into the provincial gentry in a wealthy, well-connected family that owned tobacco plantations. Strong, brave, eager for combat and a natural leader, young Washington quickly became a senior officer of the colonial forces, during the French and Indian War
French and Indian War
The French and Indian War is the common American name for the war between Great Britain and France in North America from 1754 to 1763. In 1756, the war erupted into the world-wide conflict known as the Seven Years' War and thus came to be regarded as the North American theater of that war...

 in 1754–1758. Washington's experience, his military bearing, his leadership of the Patriot cause in Virginia, and his political base in the largest colony made him the obvious choice of the Second Continental Congress
Second Continental Congress
The Second Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that started meeting on May 10, 1775, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, soon after warfare in the American Revolutionary War had begun. It succeeded the First Continental Congress, which met briefly during 1774,...

 in 1775 as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army to fight the British in the American Revolution. After the colonial victory over the British was finalized in 1783, Washington resigned from the military rather than become an American king, and returned to his plantation at Mount Vernon. This prompted his erstwhile enemy King George III to call him "the greatest character of the age".

Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention that drafted the United States Constitution in 1787 because of his dissatisfaction with the weaknesses of Articles of Confederation. Washington became President of the United States in 1789 where he successfully brought rival factions together to create a unified nation. President Washington built a strong, well-financed national government that avoided war, suppressed rebellion, and won acceptance among America’s natural citizens. George Washington's farewell address
George Washington's Farewell Address
George Washington's Farewell Address was written to "The People of the United States" near the end of his second term as President of the United States and before his retirement to his home at Mount Vernon....

 was a primer on republican virtue and a stern warning against partisanship, sectionalism, and involvement in foreign wars. Two years after his presidential term ended, Washington died at Mount Vernon in 1799, leaving America and the world a legacy of republican virtue and devotion to civic duty.
Republicanism in the United States
Republicanism is the political value system that has been a major part of American civic thought since the American Revolution. It stresses liberty and inalienable rights as central values, makes the people as a whole sovereign, supports activist government to promote the common good, rejects...

  Washington was a public icon of American military and civic patriotism.

Proposals for a memorial


Starting with victory in the Revolution, there were many proposals to build a monument to Washington. After his death, Congress authorized a suitable memorial in the national capital, but the decision was reversed when the Democratic-Republican Party (Jeffersonian Republicans) took control of Congress in 1801. The Republicans were dismayed that Washington had become the symbol of the Federalist Party; furthermore the values of Republicanism seemed hostile to the idea of building monuments to powerful men. They also blocked his image on coins or the celebration of his birthday. Further political squabbling, along with the North-South division on the Civil War, blocked the completion of the Washington Monument 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.

As early as 1783, the Continental Congress
Continental Congress
The Continental Congress was a convention of delegates called together from the Thirteen Colonies that became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution....

 had resolved "That an equestrian statue of George Washington be erected at the place where the residence of Congress shall be established." The proposal called for engraving on the statue which explained it had been erected "in honor of George Washington, the illustrious Commander-in-Chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the Armies of the United States of America during the war which vindicated and secured their liberty, sovereignty, and independence." Currently, there are two equestrian statues of President Washington in Washington, DC. One is located in Washington Circle
Washington Circle
Washington Circle is a traffic circle in the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., United States. It is the intersection of 23rd Street, K Street, New Hampshire Avenue, and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., on the border of the Foggy Bottom and West End neighborhoods. The through lanes of K Street...

 at the intersection of the Foggy Bottom
Foggy Bottom
Foggy Bottom is one of the oldest late 18th and 19th-century neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. The area is thought to have received the name because its riverside location made it susceptible to concentrations of fog and industrial smoke, an atmospheric trait that did not prevent the neighborhood...

 and West End
West End, Washington, D.C.
The West End is a neighborhood of the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., bounded by K Street to the south, Rock Creek Park to the west and north, and New Hampshire Avenue and 21st Street to the east. The West End is so named because it was the westernmost part of the original Pierre L'Enfant...

 neighborhoods at the north end of the George Washington University
George Washington University
The George Washington University is a private, coeducational comprehensive university located in Washington, D.C. in the United States...

, and the other is in the gardens of the National Cathedral.

Ten days after Washington's death, a Congressional committee recommended a different type of monument. John Marshall
John Marshall
John Marshall was the Chief Justice of the United States whose court opinions helped lay the basis for American constitutional law and made the Supreme Court of the United States a coequal branch of government along with the legislative and executive branches...

, a Representative from Virginia (who later became Chief Justice
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

 of the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

) proposed that a tomb be erected within the Capitol
United States Capitol
The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall...

. But 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 prevented progress on any project.

Design


Progress towards a memorial finally began in 1832. That year, which marked the 100th anniversary of Washington's birth, a large group of concerned citizens formed the Washington National Monument Society. In 1836, after they had raised $28,000 in donations ($ in 2010 dollars
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

), they announced a competition for the design of the memorial.

On September 23, 1835, the board of managers of the society described their expectations:
The society held a competition for designs in 1836. The winner, architect Robert Mills, was well-qualified for the commission. The citizens of Baltimore had chosen him to build a monument to Washington, and he had designed a tall Greek column surmounted by a statue of the President. Mills also knew the capital well, having just been chosen Architect of Public Buildings for Washington.

His design called for a tall obelisk
Obelisk
An obelisk is a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top, and is said to resemble a petrified ray of the sun-disk. A pair of obelisks usually stood in front of a pylon...

—an upright, four-sided pillar that tapers as it rises—with a nearly flat top. He surrounded the obelisk with a circular colonnade
Colonnade
In classical architecture, a colonnade denotes a long sequence of columns joined by their entablature, often free-standing, or part of a building....

, the top of which would feature Washington standing in a chariot. Inside the colonnade would be statues of 30 prominent Revolutionary War heroes.

One part of Mills' elaborate design that was built was the doorway surmounted by an Egyptian-style Winged sun
Winged sun
The winged sun is a symbol associated with divinity, royalty and power in the Ancient Near East . The symbol has also been found in the records of ancient cultures residing in various regions of South America as well as Australia.- Ancient Egyptian use :In Ancient Egypt, the symbol is attested...

. It was removed when construction resumed after 1884. A photo can be seen in The Egyptian Revival by Richard G. Carrot.

Yet criticism of Mills' design and its estimated price tag of more than $1 million ($ in 2010 dollars
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

) caused the society to hesitate. Its members decided to start building the obelisk and to leave the question of the colonnade for later. They believed that if they used the $87,000 they had already collected to start work, the appearance of the monument would spur further donations that would allow them to complete the project.

Construction


The Washington Monument was originally intended to be located at the point at which a line running directly south from the center of the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 crossed a line running directly west from the center of the Capitol
United States Capitol
The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall...

. Pierre (Peter) Charles L'Enfant's 1791 "Plan of the city intended for the permanent seat of t(he) government of the United States ..." designated this point as the location of the equestrian statue of George Washington that the Continental Congress had voted for in 1783. However, the ground at the intended location proved to be too unstable to support a structure as heavy as the planned obelisk. At that site, 390 feet (119 m) WNW from the Monument, there now stands a small monolith called the Jefferson Pier
Jefferson Pier
Jefferson Pier, Jefferson Stone, or the Jefferson Pier Stone, in Washington, D.C., marks the second prime meridian of the United States even though it was never officially recognized, either by presidential proclamation or by a resolution or act of Congress...

.

Excavation for the foundation of the Monument began in early 1848. The cornerstone was laid as part of an elaborate Fourth of July
Independence Day (United States)
Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain...

 ceremony hosted by the Freemasons
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

, a worldwide fraternal organization to which Washington belonged. Speeches that day showed the country continued to revere Washington. One celebrant noted, "No more Washingtons shall come in our time ... But his virtues are stamped on the heart of mankind. He who is great in the battlefield looks upward to the generalship of Washington. He who grows wise in counsel feels that he is imitating Washington. He who can resign power against the wishes of a people, has in his eye the bright example of Washington."

Construction continued until 1854, when donations ran out. The next year, Congress voted to appropriate $200,000 to continue the work, but rescinded before the money could be spent. This reversal came because of a new policy the society had adopted in 1849. It had agreed, after a request from some Alabamians
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

, to encourage all states and territories to donate commemorative stones that could be fitted into the interior walls. Members of the society believed this practice would make citizens feel they had a part in building the monument, and it would cut costs by limiting the amount of stone that had to be bought. Blocks of Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

 marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

, granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 and sandstone
Sandstone
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

 steadily appeared at the site. American Indian
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 tribes, professional organizations, societies, businesses and foreign nations donated stones that were 4 feet by 2 feet by 12–18 inches (1.2 m by 0.6 m by 0.3 – 0.5 m). One stone was donated by the Ryukyu Kingdom
Ryukyu Kingdom
The Ryūkyū Kingdom was an independent kingdom which ruled most of the Ryukyu Islands from the 15th century to the 19th century. The Kings of Ryūkyū unified Okinawa Island and extended the kingdom to the Amami Islands in modern-day Kagoshima Prefecture, and the Sakishima Islands near Taiwan...

 and brought back by Commodore Matthew C. Perry, but never arrived in Washington (it was replaced in 1989). Many of the stones donated for the monument, however, carried inscriptions which did not commemorate George Washington. For example, one from the Templars of Honor and Temperance
Templars of Honor and Temperance
The Templars of Honor and Temperance was established in the United States in 1845 as the Marshall Temperance Fraternity as part of the temperance movement. It then became the "Marshall Temple, Sons of Honor," and finally became the Templars of Honor and Temperance...

 stated "We will not buy, sell, or use as a beverage, any spiritous or malt liquors, Wine, Cider, or any other Alcoholic Liquor." It was just one commemorative stone that started the events that stopped the Congressional appropriation and ultimately construction altogether. In the early 1850s, Pope Pius IX
Pope Pius IX
Blessed Pope Pius IX , born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal...

 contributed a block of marble. In March 1854, members of the anti-Catholic, nativist
Nativism (politics)
Nativism favors the interests of certain established inhabitants of an area or nation as compared to claims of newcomers or immigrants. It may also include the re-establishment or perpetuation of such individuals or their culture....

 American Party — better known as the "Know-Nothings"—stole the Pope's stone as a protest and supposedly threw it into the Potomac (it was replaced in 1982). Then, in order to make sure the monument fit the definition of "American" at that time, the Know-Nothings conducted an illegal election so they could take over the entire society. Congress immediately rescinded its $200,000 contribution.

The Know-Nothings retained control of the society until 1858, adding 13 courses of masonry to the monument, all of which were of such poor quality that they were later removed. Unable to collect enough money to finish work, they increasingly lost public support. The Know-Nothings eventually gave up and returned all records to the original society, but the stoppage in construction continued into, then after, the Civil War.

Interest in the monument grew after the Civil War ended. Engineers studied the foundation several times to see whether it remained strong enough. In 1876, the Centennial of the Declaration of Independence
United States Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. John Adams put forth a...

, Congress agreed to appropriate another $200,000 to resume construction. The monument, which had stood for nearly 20 years at less than one-third of its proposed height, now seemed ready for completion.

Before work could begin again, however, arguments about the most appropriate design resumed. Many people thought a simple obelisk, one without the colonnade, would be too bare. Architect Mills was reputed to have said omitting the colonnade would make the monument look like "a stalk of asparagus
Asparagus
Asparagus officinalis is a spring vegetable, a flowering perennialplant species in the genus Asparagus. It was once classified in the lily family, like its Allium cousins, onions and garlic, but the Liliaceae have been split and the onion-like plants are now in the family Amaryllidaceae and...

"; another critic said it offered "little ... to be proud of."

This attitude led people to submit alternative designs. Both the Washington National Monument Society and Congress held discussions about how the monument should be finished. The society considered five new designs, concluding that the one by William Wetmore Story
William Wetmore Story
William Wetmore Story was an American sculptor, art critic, poet and editor.-Biography:William Wetmore Story was the son of jurist Joseph Story and Sarah Waldo Story...

 seemed "vastly superior in artistic taste and beauty." Congress deliberated over those five as well as Mills' original; while it was deciding, it ordered work on the obelisk to continue. Finally, the members of the society agreed to abandon the colonnade and alter the obelisk so it conformed to classical Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian proportions.

Construction resumed in 1879 under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Lincoln Casey
Thomas Lincoln Casey
Thomas Lincoln Casey, Sr. was a soldier and engineer.-Biography:Casey was born in Sackets Harbor, New York...

 of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Casey redesigned the foundation, strengthening it so it could support a structure that ultimately weighed more than 40,000 tons. He then followed the society's orders and figured out what to do with the commemorative stones that had accumulated. Though many people ridiculed them, Casey managed to install most of the stones in the interior walls — one stone was found at the bottom of the elevator shaft in 1951. One difficulty that is visible to this day is that the builders were unable to find the same quarry stone used in the initial construction, and as a result, the bottom third of the monument is a slightly lighter shade than the rest of the construction.

The building of the monument proceeded quickly after Congress had provided sufficient funding. In four years, it was finally completed, with the 100 ounce (2.85 kg) aluminum tip/lightning-rod being put in place on December 6, 1884. The tip was the largest single piece of aluminum cast at the time, when aluminum commanded a price comparable to silver. Two years later, the Hall–Héroult process made aluminum easier to produce and the price of aluminum plummeted, making the once-valuable tip nearly worthless, though it still provided a lustrous, non-rusting tip that served as the original lightning rod. The monument opened to the public on October 9, 1888.

Dedication


The Monument was formally dedicated on February 21, 1885. Over 800 people attended to hear speeches by Ohio Senator John Sherman
John Sherman (politician)
John Sherman, nicknamed "The Ohio Icicle" , was a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Ohio during the Civil War and into the late nineteenth century. He served as both Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State and was the principal author of the Sherman Antitrust Act...

, William Wilson Corcoran
William Wilson Corcoran
William Wilson Corcoran was an American banker, philanthropist, and art collector.-Early life:Corcoran was born in Georgetown in the District of Columbia, the son of a well-to-do father whom the electors of Georgetown twice chose as mayor. His father, Thomas Corcoran, came to Georgetown in 1788...

 (of the Washington National Monument Society), Thomas Lincoln Casey
Thomas Lincoln Casey
Thomas Lincoln Casey, Sr. was a soldier and engineer.-Biography:Casey was born in Sackets Harbor, New York...

 of the Army Corps of Engineers
United States Army Corps of Engineers
The United States Army Corps of Engineers is a federal agency and a major Army command made up of some 38,000 civilian and military personnel, making it the world's largest public engineering, design and construction management agency...

 and U.S. President Chester Arthur. After the speeches General William Tecumseh Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman was an American soldier, businessman, educator and author. He served as a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War , for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the "scorched...

 led a procession, which included the dignitaries and the crowd, to the east main entrance of the Capitol building
United States Capitol
The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall...

, where President Arthur received passing troops. Then, in the House Chamber, the president, his Cabinet, diplomats and others listened to Representative John Davis Long
John Davis Long
John Davis Long was a U.S. political figure. He served as the 32nd Governor of Massachusetts between 1880 and 1883. He later served as the Secretary of the Navy from 1897 to 1902....

 read a speech given 37 years earlier at the laying of the cornerstone. A final speech was given by Virginia governor John W. Daniel
John W. Daniel
John Warwick Daniel was an American lawyer, author, and Democratic politician from Lynchburg, Virginia. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates and represented Virginia in both the U.S. House and then five terms in the Senate...

.

Later history


At the time of its completion, it was the tallest building in the world; it remains the tallest stone structure in the world. It is still the tallest building in Washington, D.C.; the Heights of Buildings Act of 1910
Heights of Buildings Act of 1910
The Heights of Buildings Act of 1910 was an Act of Congress passed by the 61st United States Congress on June 1, 1910 to limit the height of buildings in Washington, D.C. The original act was passed in 1899 when the 55th United States Congress passed the Heights of Buildings Act of 1899...

 restricts new building heights to no more than 20 feet (6.1 m) greater than the width of the adjacent street. This monument is vastly taller than the obelisks around the capitals of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, but ordinary antique obelisks were quarried as a monolithic block of stone, and were therefore seldom taller than approximately 100 feet (30.5 m).

The Washington Monument attracted enormous crowds before it officially opened. During the six months that followed its dedication, 10,041 people climbed the 897 steps and 50 landings to the top. After the elevator
Elevator
An elevator is a type of vertical transport equipment that efficiently moves people or goods between floors of a building, vessel or other structures...

 that had been used to raise building materials was altered to carry passengers, the number of visitors grew rapidly. The original elevator was a steam elevator and took 20 minutes to go to the top. Wine and cheese were served to those riding, but only men were allowed on board, since the elevator was considered unsafe. If women and children wanted to get to the top, they had to climb the 897 steps and 50 landings. As early as 1888, an average of 55,000 people per month went to the top, and today the Washington Monument has more than 800,000 visitors each year. As with all historic areas administered by the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

, the national memorial was listed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 on October 15, 1966. The stairs are no longer accessible to the general public due to safety issues and vandalism of the interior commemorative stones.

In the early 1930s a steel framework was erected surrounding the entire monument in order to clean it by sandblasting. A few lucky local residents were allowed to ride the makeshift cage elevator to the top-exterior and touch the tip of the monument. Earlier 1900 plans to build sunken gardens near the monument with trees and other foliage were never implemented.

For ten hours in December 1982, the Washington Monument was "held hostage" by a nuclear arms protester, Norman Mayer
Norman Mayer
Norman David Mayer was an American anti-nuclear weapons activist who was shot and killed by the United States Park Police after threatening to blow up the Washington Monument.-Early life:...

, claiming to have explosives in a van he drove up to the monument's base. Eight tourists trapped in the monument at the time the standoff began were set free, and the incident ended with U.S. Park Police opening fire on Mayer, killing him. The monument was undamaged in the incident, and it was discovered later that Mayer did not have explosives.

The monument underwent an extensive restoration project between 1998 and 2001. During this time it was completely covered in scaffolding designed by the American architect, Michael Graves
Michael Graves
Michael Graves is an American architect. Identified as one of The New York Five, Graves has become a household name with his designs for domestic products sold at Target stores in the United States....

 (who was also responsible for the interior changes). The project included cleaning, repairing and repointing
Repointing
Repointing is the process of renewing the pointing in masonry construction. Over time, weathering and decay cause voids in the joints between masonry units , allowing the undesirable entrance of water. Water entering through these voids can cause significant damage through frost weathering and...

 the monument's exterior and interior stonework. The stone in public accessible interior spaces was encased in glass to prevent vandalism, while new windows with narrower frames were installed (to increase the viewing space). New exhibits celebrating the life of George Washington, and the monument's place in history, were also added. A temporary interactive visitors center, dubbed the "Discovery Channel Center" was also constructed during the project. The center provided a simulated ride to the top of the monument, and shared information with visitors during phases in which the monument was closed. 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 custom elevator cab to be installed; completing the final phase of the restoration project. The new cab included glass windows, which allows visitors to see some of the 193 commemorative stones 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 final cost of the restoration project was $10.5 million.

On September 7, 2004 the monument closed for a $15 million renovation, which included numerous security upgrades and new landscaping. The renovations were due partly to security concerns following the September 11 attacks and the start of the War on Terror
War on Terror
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

. The monument reopened April 1, 2005, while the surrounding grounds remained closed until the landscaping was finished later that summer.

2011 Virginia earthquake damage



On August 23, 2011, the Washington Monument sustained damage during the 2011 Virginia earthquake
2011 Virginia earthquake
The 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred on August 23, 2011, at 1:51 pm EDT in the Piedmont region of the U.S. state of Virginia. The epicenter, in Louisa County, was northwest of Richmond and south-southwest of the town of Mineral...

. 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 pyramidion 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 (Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. is an American corporation of architects, engineers, and materials scientists specializing in the investigation, analysis, testing, and design of repairs for historic and contemporary buildings and structures...

 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 all 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 pyramidion was 1 inches (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 feet (76.2 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 Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates. The reason for the inspection is the park agency's suspicion that there are more cracks on the monument's upper section which they cannot see from the inside. The agency said it filled the cracks which occurred on August 23. But after Hurricane Irene
Hurricane Irene (2011)
Hurricane Irene was a large and powerful Atlantic hurricane that left extensive flood and wind damage along its path through the Caribbean, the United States East Coast and as far north as Atlantic Canada in 2011...

 hit the D.C. area on August 27, water was discovered inside the memorial, leading the Park Service to suspect there was yet more undiscovered damage. The rappellers used radios to report what they found to engineering experts on the ground. Wiss, Janney, Elstner climber Dave Megerle took three hours to set up the rappelling equipment and set up a barrier around the monument's lightning rod system atop the pyramidion; it was the first time the hatch in the pyramidion had been open since 2000.

The external inspection of the monument was completed October 5, 2011. Besides the four-foot long west crack, the inspection found several corner cracks and surface spalls (pieces of stone broken loose) at or near the top of the monument, and more loss of joint mortar lower down the monument. The full report is due November 2011. 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. But Park Service officials said they had no timetable for when they might reopen the monument.

More than $200,000 was spent between August 24 and September 26 inspecting the structure. The National Park Service said that it would soon begin sealing the exterior cracks on the monument in order to protect it from rain and snow.

Construction details


The completed monument stands 555 foot tall, with the following construction materials and details:
  • Phase One (1848 to 1858): To the 152-foot (46 m) level, under the direction of Superintendent William Daugherty.
Exterior: White marble from Texas, Maryland (adjacent to and east of north I-83
Interstate 83
Interstate 83 is an Interstate Highway in the eastern United States. Its southern terminus is in Baltimore, Maryland at the Fayette Street exit; its northern terminus is in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania at Interstate 81....

 near the Warren Road exit in Cockeysville
Cockeysville, Maryland
Cockeysville is a census-designated place in Baltimore County, Maryland, United States. The population was 19,388 at the 2000 census.-History:...

)
Exterior: White marble, four courses or rows, from Sheffield, Massachusetts
Sheffield, Massachusetts
Not to be confused with the city of Sheffield in the UK, or Sheffield, Vermont.Sheffield is a town in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 3,257 at the 2010 census. Sheffield is home to...

  • Phase Two (1878 to 1888): Work completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, commanded by Lt. Col. Thomas L. Casey.
Exterior: White marble from a different Cockeysville quarry.
  • Structural: bluestone gneiss
    Gneiss
    Gneiss is a common and widely distributed type of rock formed by high-grade regional metamorphic processes from pre-existing formations that were originally either igneous or sedimentary rocks.-Etymology:...

  • Commemorative stones: granite
    Granite
    Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

    , marble
    Marble
    Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

    , limestone
    Limestone
    Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

    , sandstone
    Sandstone
    Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

    , soapstone
    Soapstone
    Soapstone is a metamorphic rock, a talc-schist. It is largely composed of the mineral talc and is thus rich in magnesium. It is produced by dynamothermal metamorphism and metasomatism, which occurs in the areas where tectonic plates are subducted, changing rocks by heat and pressure, with influx...

    , jade
    Jade
    Jade is an ornamental stone.The term jade is applied to two different metamorphic rocks that are made up of different silicate minerals:...

  • Pyramidal point was cast by William Frishmuth
    William Frishmuth
    William Frishmuth was a German-born American architect and metallurgist.William Frishmuth was born Johan Wilhelm Gottfreid Frishmuth in Coburg, Germany in 1830. Aluminum is a metal not found in a pure state in nature. The first patent for refining aluminum by electrolysis was granted to...

     from aluminum, at the time a rare metal as valuable as silver. Before the installation it was put on public display and stepped over by visitors who could later say they had "stepped over the top of the Washington Monument".


The cost of the monument was $1,187,710.

Exterior structure

  • Total height of monument: 555 foot
  • Height from lobby to observation level: 500 feet (152 m)
  • Width at base of monument: 55 foot
  • Width at top of shaft: 34 in 5 in (10.49 m)
  • Thickness of monument walls at base: 15 feet (4.6 m)
  • Thickness of monument walls at observation level: 18 inches (457.2 mm)
  • Total weight of monument: 90,854 short tons (82,421 t)
  • Total number of blocks in monument: 36,491
  • Sway of monument in 30 miles per hour (48.3 km/h) wind: 0.125 inches (3.2 mm)

Exterior inscriptions


The four faces of the aluminum tip all bear inscriptions in cursive letters
Script (typefaces)
Script typefaces are based upon the varied and often fluid stroke created by handwriting. They are organized into highly regular formal types similar to cursive writing and looser, more casual scripts.- Formal scripts :...

:
North face West face South face East face
Joint Commission
at
Setting of Capstone

Chester A. Arthur
W. W. Corcoran, Chairman
M. E. Bell
Edward Clark
John Newton

Act of August 2, 1876
Corner Stone Laid on Bed of Foundation
July 4, 1848

First Stone at Height of 152 feet laid
August 7, 1880

Capstone set December 6, 1884
Chief Engineer and Architect,
Thos. Lincoln Casey,
Colonel, Corps of Engineers

Assistants:
George W. Davis,
Captain, 14th Infantry
Bernard R. Green,
Civil Engineer

Master Mechanic
P. H. McLaughlin
Laus Deo


In October 2007, it was discovered that the display of a replica of the aluminum tip was positioned so that the Laus Deo inscription could not be seen and Laus Deo was omitted from the placard describing the tip. The National Park Service rectified the omission by creating a new display.

Capstone

  • Capstone weight: 3300 pounds (1.5 t)
  • Capstone cuneiform keystone measures 5.16 feet (1.6 m) from base to the top
  • Each side of the capstone base: 3 feet (914.4 mm)
  • Width of aluminum tip: 5.6 inches (142.2 mm) on each of its four sides
  • Height of aluminum tip from its base: 8.9 inches (226.1 mm)
  • Weight of aluminum tip on capstone: 100 oz (2.85 kg)

Foundation

  • Depth: 36 in 10 in (11.23 m)
  • Weight: 36,912 short tons (33,486 metric tons)
  • Area: 16001 square feet (1,486.5 m²)

Interior


  • Number of commemorative stones in stairwell: 193
  • Present elevator installed: 1998
  • Present elevator cab installed: 2001
  • Elevator travel time: 70 seconds
  • Number of steps in stairwell: 897

Interior inscriptions


On the interior of the monument are 193 commemorative stones, donated by numerous governments and organizations from all over the world.

A stone at the 240 foot level of the monument is inscribed in (My language, my land, my nation of Wales — Wales for ever). The reason for this inscription and its author are unknown. Two other stones presented by the Sunday Schools of the Methodist Episcopal Church in New York and from the Sabbath School children of the Methodist Episcopal church in Philadelphia, quote the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 verses Proverbs 10:7
Book of Proverbs
The Book of Proverbs , commonly referred to simply as Proverbs, is a book of the Hebrew Bible.The original Hebrew title of the book of Proverbs is "Míshlê Shlomoh" . When translated into Greek and Latin, the title took on different forms. In the Greek Septuagint the title became "paroimai paroimiae"...

, Proverbs 22:6
Book of Proverbs
The Book of Proverbs , commonly referred to simply as Proverbs, is a book of the Hebrew Bible.The original Hebrew title of the book of Proverbs is "Míshlê Shlomoh" . When translated into Greek and Latin, the title took on different forms. In the Greek Septuagint the title became "paroimai paroimiae"...

, and Luke 17:6.

In media


As an iconic landmark of the U.S. capital, the Washington Monument has featured in a number of film and television depictions. The symbolic meaning of the shape is referenced in the novel The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
Dan Brown
Dan Brown is an American author of thriller fiction, best known for the 2003 bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code. Brown's novels, which are treasure hunts set in a 24-hour time period, feature the recurring themes of cryptography, keys, symbols, codes, and conspiracy theories...

. Its phallic resemblance is referenced in The Simpsons episode "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington
Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington
"Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington" is the second episode of The Simpsons third season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on September 26, 1991. In the episode, Lisa enters in an essay contest to write an essay about America's greatness. When she successfully wins it, she and...

" and the Futurama
Futurama
Futurama is an American animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series follows the adventures of a late 20th-century New York City pizza delivery boy, Philip J...

 episode "A Taste of Freedom
A Taste of Freedom
"A Taste of Freedom" is the fifth episode of the fourth production season of Futurama.-Plot summary:The crew celebrates Freedom Day, a day where you can do anything you want, regardless of the consequences. Dr. Zoidberg seems passionate about the holiday, as he loves the idea of freedom, something...

", (where it is dwarfed by the fictional "Clinton Monument").

In Mike Leigh
Mike Leigh
Michael "Mike" Leigh, OBE is a British writer and director of film and theatre. He studied theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and studied further at the Camberwell School of Art and the Central School of Art and Design. He began as a theatre director and playwright in the mid 1960s...

's 2008 film Happy-Go-Lucky
Happy-Go-Lucky
Happy-Go-Lucky is a 2008 British Comedy-drama film written and directed by Mike Leigh. The screenplay focuses on a cheerful and optimistic primary-school teacher and her relationships with those around her...

, the driving instructor character Scott further reveals his inner turmoil by describing the Washington Monument as being "555 feet above the ground, and 111 feet below the ground", which according to him significantly add up to 666
Number of the Beast
The Number of the Beast is a term in the Book of Revelation, of the New Testament, that is associated with the first Beast of Revelation chapter 13, the Beast of the sea. In most manuscripts of the New Testament and in English translations of the Bible, the number of the Beast is...

. This is the statement of a fictional character in a film, and not a matter of fact.

Target for destruction


The monument is a target for destruction in sci-fi/disaster film
Disaster film
A disaster film is a film genre that has an impending or ongoing disaster as its subject...

s, comics and video games. It is destroyed in sci-fi/disaster films such Earth vs. the Flying Saucers
Earth vs. the Flying Saucers
Earth vs. the Flying Saucers is an American black and white science fiction film, directed by Fred F. Sears and released by Columbia Pictures. The film is also known as Invasion of the Flying Saucers. It was ostensibly suggested by the non-fiction work Flying Saucers from Outer Space by Donald...

, Mars Attacks!
Mars Attacks!
Mars Attacks! is a 1996 American science fiction film directed by Tim Burton and based on the cult trading card series of the same name. The film uses elements of black comedy, surreal humour, and political satire, and claims to be also a parody of multiple science fiction B movies...

 and 2012
2012 (film)
2012 is a 2009 American disaster film directed by Roland Emmerich. It stars John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, and Woody Harrelson. It was produced by Emmerich's production company, Centropolis Entertainment and was distributed by Columbia Pictures...

. In NBC's The Event, Episode 15, "Face Off", a group of aliens led by Sophia (Laura Innes
Laura Innes
Laura Elizabeth Innes is an American actress and director, probably best known for her role as Dr. Kerry Weaver on ER, and most recently, as Sophia on the NBC thriller The Event.-Career:...

) topples the Monument.

It was destroyed in the Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics
Marvel Worldwide, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media...

 series X-Factor
X-Factor (comics)
X-Factor is an American comic book series published by Marvel Comics. It is a spin-off of the popular X-Men franchise, featuring characters from X-Men stories. The series has been relaunched several times with different team rosters, most recently as X-Factor Investigations.X-Factor launched in...

 during a superhuman fight. In the DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment a company of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner...

 series called Guy Gardner
Guy Gardner (comics)
Guy Gardner is a fictional character, a comic book superhero published by DC Comics. He is a core member of the Green Lantern family of characters, and for a time was also a significant member of the Justice League family of characters.He was created by John Broome and Gil Kane in Green Lantern...

: Warrior, it was toppled in a battle. In the same continuity, it was rebuilt. It was again demolished in the limited series Amazons Attack!
Amazons Attack!
Amazons Attack! is a six-issue comic book limited series that was published by DC Comics. Written by Will Pfeifer and pencilled by Pete Woods, the first issue was released April 25, 2007.-Development:...

. In video games such as Modern Warfare 2 it serves as a touchstone for a supposed evacuation of the city of Washington. In the game Fallout 3
Fallout 3
Fallout 3 is an action role-playing game released by Bethesda Game Studios, and the third major installment in the Fallout series. The game was released in North America, Europe and Australia in October 2008, and in Japan in December 2008 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360...

, the damaged monument is frequently visible to the player while outdoors, and it can be visited and ascended. Note that the depictions of the monument in Modern Warfare 2 and Fallout 3 are fanciful, as the monument is almost entirely supported by the masonry, not an internal metal superstructure. One of the missions in the game Splinter Cell: Conviction takes place around a county fair in front of the monument. The entrance of the monument serves as a meeting place for protagonist Sam Fisher
Sam Fisher
Samuel "Sam" Fisher is the protagonist of the Splinter Cell series of video games and novels . His full name is first seen in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, the first game of the series, when he was using the computer in the V-22 Osprey to encrypt his call home...

 with his old friend Victor Coste.

Gallery



See also


  • List of towers
  • Washington Monument Syndrome
    Washington Monument Syndrome
    Washington Monument Syndrome, also called the "Mount Rushmore Syndrome", is the name of a political tactic allegedly used by government agencies when faced with reductions in the rate of projected increases in budget or actual budget cuts. The most visible and most appreciated service that is...

  • World's tallest free standing structure on land

External links