Written by SoudipJanuary 31st 2017
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Washington Monument Historical Facts and Pictures
The Washington Monument is a historic structure located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., United States. It was erected to commemorate George Washington, the first US president who was once the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
The construction started in 1848, but work was halted from 1854-1877 due to the paucity of funds, a conflict for control over the Washington National Monument Society and the involvement of the American Civil War. The structure was completed in 1884 barring the internal ironwork, the knoll, and other finishing touches that were completed by 1888.A different shade of marble is visible at about 150 feet, reflecting the work was halted and resumed later with marble from another source. Many suggestions were advocated to adorn the monument; only its flat top was changed to a pointed marble pyramidion in 1884. In 1885, the monument was dedicated and officially opened in 1888. It was the tallest structure in the world at the time of its completion.
A different shade of marble is visible at about 150 feet, reflecting the work was halted and resumed later with marble from another source. Many suggestions were advocated to adorn the monument; only its flat top was changed to a pointed marble pyramidion in 1884. In 1885, the monument was dedicated and officially opened in 1888. It was the tallest structure in the world at the time of its completion.
The Washington National Monument Society organized a design competition for the memorial which was won by architect Robert Mills. But he did not feature his proposed colonnade because of lack of funds. One of Mill’s designs was an Egyptian-style winged sun on the top of the doorway, but it was removed after the monument was dedicated in 1885. Between 1998 and 2001, a massive renovation project was undertaken during which the monument was completely covered in scaffolding under the supervision of the American architect Michael Graves.
The monument houses 194 memorial stones contributed by States, cities, foreign nations, benevolent societies, other organizations, and individuals. The memorial stones are composed of marble, granite, limestone, sandstone and other miscellaneous types.
The state of Utah contributed two memorial stones – one as a territory and another as a state, both with inscriptions mentioning the pre-territorial name Deseret placed on the 220-foot level.
Another stone imported from Wales is located at the 240-foot level is inscribed in Welsh, was donated by the citizens of Wales in New York. The monument houses two other stones presented by the Sunday Schools of the Sabbath School children of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia and the Methodist Episcopal Church in New York.
Another stone was sent by the Ottoman government which reflects the work of two renowned calligraphers – Haşim Efendi and Kadıasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi. The latter is credited with the writings of the large medallions at Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
The pyramidion’s marble capstone is in the form of a truncated pyramid with a cubical keystone protruding from its base and a deep groove encircling the Keystone. Its height is 55 feet with an aluminum apex.
The aluminum apex cast by William Frishmuth of Philadelphia at a time when the metal was considered rare. It was the world’s largest piece of aluminum at that time. It now stands at 8.9 inches since lightning strikes removed 3/8 inches from its tip. Its base is 5.6 inches square while weighing 100 ounces. Tall lightning rods were constructed surrounding the apex tot mitigate further damages from lightning strikes.
The first phase (1848–54) of the walls, built under the supervision of William Dougherty, consisted of bluestone gneiss rubble from large irregular stones. Thomas Symington supervised the second phase of construction (1879–84), during which walls made from smooth marble and granite blocks were erected.
Since 1971, fifty American flags, one for each state are flown 24 hours a day around a large circle centered on the monument.
From 1848 to 1888, the total cost of the monument was $1,409,500. The total number of blocks in the monument visible externally or internally or hidden from view is more than 36000. The number of marble blocks visible externally is around 10,000.