Washington Monument

Washington Monument

The Washington Monument is an obelisk near the west end of the National Mall, built to commemorate the first U.S. president, General George Washington. The monument, made of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss, is both the world's tallest stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk, standing 555 feet 5 1⁄8 inches. It is also the tallest structure in Washington D.C. It was designed by Robert Mills, an architect 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 a lack of funds, and the intervention of the American Civil War. A difference in shading of the marble, visible approximately 150 feet shows where construction was halted for a number of years. The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1848; the capstone 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. The monument held this designation until 1889, when the Eiffel Tower was completed in Paris, France. The monument stands due east of the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial.

Photo 94, Nov 2011

Washington Monument showing aircraft warning lights

Viewed across the Tidal Basin

Photo 127, Nov 2011

Washington Monument

Photo 63, Nov 2011

Washington Monument from the mall

Photo 120, Nov 2011

Washington Monument, down the Mall

As a tribute to the "Father of our Country," the monument remains the defining item on the Washington skyline. At 555 feet, it is also one of the world's tallest freestanding masonry structures.

Authorized by Congress in 1833, the monument followed a convoluted path to construction and completion. Architect Robert Mills's original proposal included elaborate plans for a Revolutionary War Memorial, but for financial reasons, the builders were only able to render the centerpiece of the plan — a stark stone obelisk based on an Egyptian design.

Construction started in 1848 and continued to 1854, but due to a tale of bureaucracy and political intrigue, work was effectively halted for 25 years. In 1876, Ulysses Grant spearheaded the monument's drive to completion. Construction resumed in 1878, was completed in 1884 and the structure was dedicated by President Chester A. Arthur the following year.

Photo 106, Nov 2008

Washington Monument

Photo 121, Nov 2008

Washington Monument

Photo 123, Nov 2008

Washington Monument

Photo 125, Nov 2008

Washington Monument

Photo 126, Nov 2008

Washington Monument

Photo 130, Nov 2008

WWII Monument, fountain and Washington Monument

Photo 163, Nov 2008

Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool

Photo 180, Nov 2008

Washington Monument seen from Lincoln Memorial

Photo 192, Nov 2008

Washington Memorial and Old Post Ofice tower, from FDR Memorial

Photo 212, Nov 2008

Washington Monument

Photo 246, Nov 2008

Washington Monument at night

Photo 307, Nov 2008

Arlington National Cemetary, view from hill

Washington Monument, Old PO Tower, Lincoln Memorial

Photo 346, Nov 2008

Arlington National Cemetary, view from Lee House, Washington Monument and Capitol Building

Photo 403, Nov 2008

Washington Monument from Air

Photo 431, Nov 2008

Other Photos



Public Home