The Washington Monument, one of the most iconic symbols in the US, is due to be reopened to the public in August after a four-year refurbishment. The Monument required repair and renovation after being structurally damaged by an earthquake in 2011.
Following this, the Washington Monument was reopened to the public in 2014 after repairs costing $15 million. However, a snapped cable in its lift reclosed the Monument for an extra 5 years.
The National Park Service, which manages the Monument, said in press statements in March that the Monument’s lift has been upgraded and is now ready to ferry visitors, adding that the reopening date was planned for some time in August.
The Washington Monument was built between 1848 and 1884 as a tribute to George Washington's military leadership from 1775-1783 during the American Revolution.
Its construction took place in two major phases, 1848-56, and 1876-84. A lack of funds, political turmoil, and uncertainty about the survival of the American Union caused the intermittent hiatus.
A difference in shading of the marble, visible at approximately 150 feet, shows where construction was halted and later resumed with marble from a different source
The cornerstone was laid on July 4th, 1848; the first stone was laid atop the unfinished stump on August 7th, 1880; the capstone was set on December 6th, 1884; the completed monument was dedicated on February 21st, 1885 and officially opened on October 9th, 1888.
Made of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss, the Monument is both the world's tallest predominantly stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk.
Businessman and philanthropist David M Rubenstein pledged the funding needed for the National Park Service to modernise the Monument’s lift. The $2-3 million project was designed to correct the lift’s ongoing mechanical, electrical and computer issues.
Mr Rubenstein said, “The monument has become a symbol of our country and reminds everyone of the towering strengths of our first president. I am honoured to help make this symbol safely accessible again to all Americans as soon as practicable.”
“The Washington Monument is one of our Nation’s most iconic structures. It is one of many monuments in Washington DC that is important in telling the story of America’s rich and diverse history,” said Jonathan B Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service. “Mr Rubenstein’s continued support for the Washington Monument will ensure generations of visitors can safely enjoy this historically significant monument for years to come.”
Tourists can enjoy the Washington Monument as it is served by the Smithsonian Metro Station