Scenic USA - Washington DC
|Photos by Brad Troy
Brad Troy Photography
Monument Inspection Team photo - courtesy NPS
Although his birth date is somewhat obscure since the creation of Presidents Day, George Washington was born February 22, 1732, and will always be remembered as the Father of our Country. Viewed as a great leader and statesman, Washington lead the Continental Army during the American Revolution, was president of the Constitutional Convention and of course, the first President of the United states.
Among the most famous landmarks clustered around Washington DC, the Washington Monument is the most prominent structure in the National Mall. Honoring George Washington, the monument was fashioned in the shape of an Egyptian obelisk, rising over 550 feet and weighing more than 90,000 tons. From up on top, visitors may enjoy a grand view of the nation's capital and sights of neighboring Virginia up to thirty miles. Although the monument tour is free to the public, tickets are required for visitation.
Following a design by Robert Mills completed in 1845, the Washington National Monument Society gathered donations for a decade before construction began. Despite difficulties raising funds, the cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1848. Stalled by the Society's change in administration, the Civil War and inadequacies of the foundation, construction duties were eventually passed on to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Lt. Col. Thomas Lincoln Casey. The monument slowly came to fruition, completed 85 years after Washington's death. The Washington Monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885, one day before George Washington's birthday.
Unfortunately for DC visitors, the Washington Monument was closed after experiencing damage during a magnitude 5.8 Virginia earthquake on August 22, 2011. While visitors on the observation deck were shaken by the quake and minor injuries were caused by falling mortar and pieces of stone, all visitors inside exited to safety. Damage assessments revealed cracks, displaced stones and significant damage to the structure. After reairs were completed, the monument was officially reopened on Monday, May 12, 2014, just missing Washington DC's annual Cherry Blossom Festival.
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