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Who Is That Man, Anyway?
Subject: George Washington
Sculptor: Robert Mills
Location: Potomac Park
( West Mall & 15th )
The Washington Monument is one of the most easily recognized DC memorials. It was begun by a private organization, the Washington Monument Society, in 1848 to honor the first president, George Washington (1732-1799). Construction ceased on the Monument in 1854, when the Monument was 153 feet tall, because the Society ran out of funds and ran into political difficulties.
The Monument sat on the Mall, one-third finished, for 26 years. Finally, in 1876, the Congress directed the Army Corps of Engineers to complete the structure. The design was rescaled from its original planned height of 600 feet to more closely match the classical Egyptian obelisk, which is ten times as tall as it is wide. Construction was completed in 1884; the monument was dedicated on February 22, 1885 and the interior was opened to the public in 1888. Although the Army Corps of Engineers returned to the same quarry to obtain more marble, the original vein of marble was exhausted and they had to use marble from a lower stratum. This led to a slight change in color of the marble visible at the the 152-foot level (about one-third of the way up).
The tip of the Monument is made of 100 ounces of aluminum. Decorating the interior shaft are 192 commemorative stones donated by various individuals, organizations, cities, states, and countries.
Photos and text copyright © 2001 Jean K. Rosales and Michael R. Jobe, All Rights Reserved
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