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Interesting Facts About the Washington Monument

2013-06-02   Views:12

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The Washington Monument looms tall above the nation's capital and was put in place to honour the "father of his country," George Washington. The Continental Congress voted in favour of erecting a statue in honour of Washington as early as 1783. Finan

Interesting Facts About the Washington Monument

The Washington Monument looms tall above the nation's capital and was put in place to honour the "father of his country," George Washington. The Continental Congress voted in favour of erecting a statue in honour of Washington as early as 1783. Financial restraints and the unforeseen needs of a growing and changing country, however, delayed its completion for many years. The finished product stands as a reminder of how Washington helped shape the nation.

History

Following the initial 1783 resolution by the Continental Congress to build a tribute to Washington, the project was quickly sidelined due to a lack of funds. The original statue concept was an equestrian statue of Washington. Upon the former President's death in 1799, there was renewed fervour to create a statue in his honour. Money was still an issue for the fledgling nation, and disagreements took place over the statue design and location. Finally, in 1832, as the 100th anniversary of Washington's birth approached, the newly formed Washington National Monument Society set about raising funds for the statue. In 1836, architect Robert Mills won the commission for the project.

Construction

Mills had a concept for a 600-foot tall obelisk which tapers at the top and is four-sided. Mills also planned for a circular colonnade at the base with statues of Washington and 30 other Revolutionary War heroes. His estimated budget was 1 million dollars, an exorbitant sum for the time. By 1848, the society had raised just £56,550 and construction began for only the obelisk, with no plans for the colonnade. They asked the individual states to donate stones to be included in the monument's walls. In 1855, funding dried up and the project was halted. Construction resumed in 1879 and was finally completed in 1884. The monument opened to the public in 1888.

Dimensions and Materials

When construction resumed in 1879, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stepped in to help ensure the safety and stability of the massive monument. They decided the monument's foundation could not support the intended 600-foot height and built it to a height of 550 feet instead. At the time of its completion it was the world's tallest building, and remains the world's tallest stone structure and the tallest building in Washington D.C. The monument's base measures 55 feet 1 ½ inches in width. It contains 36,491 blocks, with marble on the exterior walls and the blocks donated from the states and territories lining the interior walls. It is topped with an aluminium tip that acts as a lightning rod.

Visiting the Monument

The monument is open to visitors every day of the year with the exception of July 4th and Christmas Day. It closes at 5 p.m. daily in winter and remains open until 10 p.m. in summer. The structure is free to tour, but does require a ticket. Inside the monument are an elevator and a staircase with 987 steps. The Washington Monument is part of a park system that is overseen by the National Park Service. It is included in the National Mall and Memorial Parks. In addition to the National Mall and the Washington Monument, the area is home to the Lincoln, Jefferson and Vietnam Memorials, among others.

Interesting Facts About the Washington Monument

Interesting Facts About the Washington Monument

Category:HomeRelease time:2013-06-02Views:130

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