The Washington Monument

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DC Trip 2023

Washington, DC possesses the largest concentration of National Park Service units of any metropolitan area. I decided to use one of my long weekends in April to visit DC and check a few units off my list. I toured several memorials, monuments and other sites, including the Washington Monument.

The National Mall

The National Mall stretches from the Capitol to the Potomac River. It serves as “America’s Front Lawn” and its premiere civic and symbolic space. Originally in the L’Enfant plan for the city, the National Mall and Memorial Parks unit of the NPS protects iconic monuments and memorials and over 1,000 acres of greenspace. The Washington Monument is the tallest structure standing on the Mall proper.

Washington Monument

Soon after George Washington died in 1799, Congress declared a national mourning period and proposed a memorial to built in Washington DC. For over thirty years, efforts to fund the project proved fruitless.  The Washington National Monument Society formed in 1833 and elected Chief Justice John Marshall as their president. The Society sent agents door-to-door across the nation, collecting donations.

In the early 1940s, the Society invested the money collected in the stock market. By 1848, they began construction. Work halted in 1854 when funds ran low and didn’t begin again until 1877 because of the Civil War. The marble changes color about 150 feet up because of this gap in construction. The stone used after 1877 came from a different source.

The Society chose a hill close to the Potomac River upon which to build the obelisk. They dedicated the completed monument in 1885. Today, it stands a mile from the river’s shore due to land reclamation projects.

An earthquake damaged the structure in 2011 and closed it until repairs completed in 2014. The monument closed again between 2016 and 2019 for elevator and security upgrades. It is difficult to get a ticket to go up to the top during popular times. Since I was there during Easter Week, I had to content myself with admiring this iconic symbol of DC from the ground.

2023 DC Trip Posts

  • Eisenhower Memorial
  • Smithsonian Castle
  • Washington Monument
  • WWII Memorial
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Vietnam Memorial
  • The White House
  • Constitution Gardens
  • WWI Memorial
  • Fords Theater
  • Mount Vernon Mansion
  • Mount Vernon Grounds
  • Korean War Memorial
  • Hampton House

Location: 2 15th St NW, Washington, DC
Designation: National Monument
Date designated/established: October 9, 1888
Date of my visit: April 6, 2023

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