The Washington Monument | Attraction Guides | History Hit

The Washington Monument

Washington, District of Columbia, United States

Lucy Davidson

13 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About The Washington Monument

Standing at 555ft high, The Washington Monument is a staggeringly large monument which honours and memorialises George Washington at the centre of America’s capital, Washington D.C.

History of The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument was designed by architect Robert Mills, and is made out of marble, granite, and sandstone. It was completed on 6 December 1884, almost thirty years after Mills’ death.

The Washington Monument was constructed in honour of the first president of the United States of America, George Washington, who was considered to be the ‘Father of the Country’. Washington led the USA to independence from the British and commanded great respect from his countrymen.

The shape of the Washington Monument is that of an Egyptian obelisk to convey a sense of ancient civilisation and timeless awe which the nation felt towards its most essential Founding Father. At a height of 555 feet, 5 and 1/8 inches, it was once the tallest building in the world, and remains the tallest obelisk in the world.

The design was chosen as part of a competition held in 1836 to find a style that reflected Washington himself, in that it was to be, in the words of the Washington National Monument Society, ‘unparalleled in the world, and commensurate with the gratitude, liberality, and patriotism of the people by whom it is to be erected’.

The cornerstone was laid in July 1848, with upwards of 20,000 people in attendance.

The Washington Monument Today

The Washington Monument is now part of the National Mall and Memorial Parks.

Visitors can enter the Washington Monument and ride the elevator to its observation deck, from which the views of the city are spectacular and run for thirty miles.

Getting to The Washington Monument

From the centre of Washington D.C., the monument is a 7 minute drive via 14th St NW. A number of buses also run from across the city – alight at Virginia Ave & 19th St NW and walk about 10 minutes towards the site (it should be easy to see!). By foot, it’s a pleasant 30 minute walk through Washington’s centre.

 

 

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