Washington Monument

May 5, 2009
by: Jillian

 Here is a picture of the Washington Monument that I took late last year.  I found the history of it quite interesting and though I would blog about it.  Not a lot of people know the history behind it and I think it's important to know because it's such a famous monument.  

As the name says, the Washington Monument was built in remembrance of George Washington.  Located at the West end of the National Mall in D.C., this very tall and very large, sand colored obelisk reminds everyone of the great work of America's first president.  I learned that the monument is made of marble, granite and sandstone and stands as the largest obelisk in the world.  It has an incredible height of 555 feet and 5 1/8 inches.  Robert Mills designed the monument back in the 1840's and it is now the tallest structure in the D.C. area.    The construction began in 1848 and was completed in 1884.  Mills passed away about 30 years before its completion though.  When Mills died, the construction was stopped by the Know-Nothing party because there wasn't enough money to continue and also because of the Civil War.  You can see where there is a different shade of marble, when you're close enough, when the construction was put on hold.  The change of color is about 150 feet up from the bottom.  The monument was completed on December 6, 1884 with the laying of the cap stone and then was dedicated on February 21, 1885.  

The plans for a National Monument started in 1832.  This year marked the 100th anniversary of George Washington's birth.  The Washington National Monument Society began the plans.  They started out by collecting donations and made over $28,000.  Today that is the same value as $582,942.  Next, they held a competition for the design.  Mill's original design was estimated to cost about 1 million dollars, so he worked on his plans and came up with an alternative.  His original plans called for the obelisk to sit on a circular building supported by Greek columns with Washington standing on a chariot inside.  The revised plans only called for the obelisk.

There is a lot more history of the National Monument to be found that goes in depth.  The basic history is very interesting and makes the monument's importance greater.  Even if you don't know the history, it's a landmark, but if you do, it's so much more significant.