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Washington Monument

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Washington Monument


Structure in General

existing [completed]


commemoration observation


  • World's tallest structure from 1884 to 1888: Surpassed by the Tour Eiffel.
  • This was the tallest monument in the United States until completion of the San Jacinto Monument in La Porte, Texas. Today it is the third-tallest in the country.
  • This is the world's tallest obelisk.
  • The Washington Monument weighs 90,000 tons and is made up of 36,000 stone blocks.
  • There is also a platform at the 490 foot level where visitors are shown a presentation about the monument.
  • The monument was built to honor George Washington, Revolutionary War hero and the United States of America's first president.
  • Construction of the obelisk was disrupted during the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865.
  • In 30 mph winds the monument sways 1/8 of an inch.
  • The original design called for a 600 foot obelisk with a 100 foot high round podium at its base, but the design was changed for budgetary reasons.
  • Granite used on the inner walls and ends at 400 feet up was meant to reduce weight in the structure. Also, since the structure tapers, space inside the monument near the top is quite limited.
  • The pyramid at the top is 50 feet high, and is capped with a 9 1/2 inch aluminum pyramidal "cap" costing $250 so as to protect it from lightning and to keep the masonry from staining.
  • There are two cornerstones in the monument, one is at the base installed in 1848 at the start of construction, and the other installed in 1880 to signify the resumption of construction.
  • The monument inspired the construction of the W Minneapolis - The Foshay in Minneapolis, the only obelisk-shaped skyscraper in the United States.
  • When renovated in 1998-1999, the monument was enclosed in a scaffold designed by architect Michael Graves, with a canvas pattern giving the impression of giant bricks.
  • There was a proposal to rebuild the scaffolding in Washburn Park across from Minneapolis Institute of Arts in Minneapolis, but this was short-lived and eventually rejected.

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More Information


Constitution Avenue NW and 15th Street SW, on the National Mall
District of Columbia

Technical Data

555.48 ft
555.48 ft
500.00 ft
55.13 ft
55.13 ft

Involved Companies

Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers
Robert Mills

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Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
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