Closed for several years due to ongoing issues with its elevator, the Washington Monument reopened to the public in September 2019. Before you you ride the brand-new elevator to the pointed top for the best view in the nation’s capital, check out these surprising Washington Monument facts.
1. The Current Design Was Not the Original Plan for the Washington Monument
Beginning shortly after the American Revolution, a monument honoring General Washington was discussed. In fact, Pierre L’Enfant’s original design for Washington, DC, included a prominent space for the capital city’s namesake between the White House and the US Capitol.
Mills’s original design was much more grandiose. It featured an obelisk similar to the one you know and love today but standing on a base of thirty 100-foot columns. Resembling the Roman Pantheon, each of the columns would be dedicated to one of the 30 signers of the Declaration of Independence. And George Washington was incorporated into the monument as a statue standing in a chariot pulled by six horses. (That takes the iconic image of General Washington on horseback to a whole new level, right?)
3. When the Cornerstone Was Laid on July 4, 1848, Three Future Presidents Were in Attendance
6. The Washington Monument on the National Mall is Not the First Monument Honoring the First US President
7. The Washington Monument is Two Different Shades of White
9. When Completed, the Washington Monument Was the Tallest Structure in the World
(And its size still matters today)
10. The Washington Monument Doesn’t Just Honor America’s First President, It Unites the Nation
11. The Washington Monument is the Only Presidential Monument in Washington That Requires a Ticket
12. A 5.8-Magnitude Earthquake Damaged the Washington Monument in 2011
Other Facts About the Washington Monument
Additional facts and figures about the Washington Monument in Washington, DC.
Where is the Washington Monument?
The Washington Monument is located on the National Mall in Washington, DC. It’s directly south of the White House and directly east of the Lincoln Memorial.
Who Does the Washington Monument Honor?
The Washington Monument honors General George Washington, a Revolutionary War hero, Founding Father, and the first president of the United States.
How Many Flags are Around the Washington Monument?
How Tall is the Washington Monument?
The Washington Monument is 555 feet, 5-1/8 inches tall. When it was completed in 1884, the monument was the tallest structure in the world.
When was the Washington Monument Completed?
The Washington Monument was completed in 1884, dedicated in 1885, and opened to the public in 1888. It took approximately 40 years to complete the Washington Monument.
Who Designed the Washington Monument?
The monument was originally designed by
After construction was paused during the Civil War, architect Henry Searle proposed an updated design for the Washington Monument that resulted in the single obelisk you see today.
Who Built the Washington Monument?
From the placement of the cornerstone in 1848 to its grand opening to the public in 1888, it took 40 years to complete the Washington Monument. After several events stalled its progress, Thomas Casey and the US Army Corps of Engineers ultimately completed the Washington Monument.
Was the Washington Monument Built by Slaves?
While several historic buildings — like the White House and US Capitol Building — were built by slaves, it seems the facts surrounding the Washington Monument are a little more hazy.
While there doesn’t appear to be any evidence that enslaved people constructed the obelisk, slave labor was commonly employed at Maryland quarries used to source the monument’s stone blocks.
What is the Washington Monument Made of?
The Washington Monument is constructed of white marble blocks, blue gneiss, and granite.
Why is the Washington Monument Two Colors?
When construction of the Washington Monument began after a 20 year pause, stone blocks from the original quarry in Maryland were no longer available. Stones sourced from a new quarry appeared to match, but the materials have aged differently. Look for a visible difference in color about one third
Can You Go Inside the Washington Monument?
Can You Go Up the Washington Monument?
How Many Steps are in the Washington Monument?
There are just under 900 steps inside the Washington Monument. However, the stairs inside the Washington Monument have been closed to visitors since the 1970s.
Practical Information for Visiting the Washington Monument
What’s the Address of the Washington Monument?
The Washington Monument is located at
When is the Washington Monument Open?
Is There a Cost to Visit the Washington Monument?
How to Get Washington Monument Tickets
What is the Best Place to Park Near the Washington Monument?
While public transportation is the most convenient way to visit the Washington Monument, limited public parking is available at the Paddle Boat Parking Lot along Maine Ave. SW, and along Ohio Drive, SW between the Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson Memorials.
Have You Visited the Washington Monument in Washington, DC?