The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument is an obelisk on the National Mall, located east of the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial, built to honor George Washington, commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the first President of the United States.

The Monument, standing about 555 feet high, is made of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss. It is the world’s tallest predominantly stone structure. Until the construction of the Eiffel Tower, the Washington Monument was the tallest structure in the world.

Construction of the Washington Monument began in 1848 and was not completed until 1885. Construction halted from 1854 to 1877 for a variety of reasons, including the American Civil War. A difference in shading of the marble, visible at about a quarter of the way up, shows where construction was halted and later resumed with marble from a different source.

After passing through security, take the elevator to the top for spectacular views of the Washington D.C. There is only one elevator and sometimes there is a wait. There are spiral stairs with almost 900 steps up the interior walls from the lobby but the stairs closed to the public in 1976, except by special arrangement. In the observation deck off the elevator there are windows on all four sides. Guides are available to tell you what you can see from each window.

The Washington Monument has been closed since December 2016 because of a problem with the elevator. The National Park Service website for the Monument states that the Monument is expected to reopen in the spring of 2019. That’s a long time to fix an elevator. During the closure, a new screening facility is being built.

Advanced ticket reservations are recommended. There is a $1.50 service charge per ticket and a limit of 6 tickets per order. To order tickets, go to http://www.recreation.gov, or call 1.877.444.6777 for individual tickets or 1.877.559.6777 for group reservations.