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Washington Monument at Night

Building the Washington Monument

The tallest structure in Washington DC honors the First President of the United States, George Washington. Around the 100th anniversary of his birth, construction began on the monument. It soon ran out of money, however, and stood as an unfinished blemish in the capital city.

The monument remained unfinished until long after the Civil War when construction started with renewed vigor. This new phase of construction lasted from 1876 until the monument was completed in 1884.

When you look closely at the monument, you can see where the first phase of construction stopped (1848-1854) as this privately funded venture ran out of money. The original stone was taken from a quarry in Baltimore, but that stone was no longer available when construction started again. The new stone was taken from a different quarry in Massachusetts.

The new stone was not matching at all, so a third quarry near the original one was used to complete the structure. Today, you can see the differences in the color of the stones.

The builders placed a tip made out of aluminum atop the Washington Monument. Before large stores of aluminum were discovered, aluminum was thought to be valuable.

Today, the Washington Monument stands just over 555 feet and 5 inches about the surrounding area. One a clear day you can see 30 to 40 miles away if you are in the observation area of the monument.

Learn more about the More About the Washington Monument

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