Washington Monument Facts

The Washington Monument is an American obelisk on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., built to commemorate George Washington, the first president of the United States

The monument, made from marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss, is both the world’s tallest stone structure and the world’s tallest obelisk, standing 555.9 feet tall, including its base.

Washington Monument Facts for Kids

  • Robert Mills Designed the Washington Monument
  • It’s 555 feet 5 1/8 inches (169.29 meters) tall
  • Built as a memorial to George Washington, the 1st President of the United States
  • It was built between 1848 – 1884
  • Marble, granite, and sandstone were used to construct the monument.

Lack of Funds

The Washington Monument was built in 1848 for $500,000 by the architect Robert Mills. It was commissioned by the U.S. Congress to honor George Washington, and it took 37 years to complete.

Funding for the monument stopped when only 20% of it was completed, and it would have cost approximately $1 million to complete its construction.

Eventually, funding came from other sources, such as private donations, so that all but about 9% of its construction could be finished before scaffolding collapsed, which damaged some marble blocks that had already been carved.

Some of the blocks damaged were from the original stone that was used in construction when the monument was first built. As a result of this, it was decided to make some repairs to these particular blocks and use marble from other sources to complete this part of the construction. Ultimately this part of the plan proved unsuccessful, and many of the remaining blocks had to be cut down in order to access them.

The unfinished portion of the Washington Monument used to be 10 feet higher, but it was lowered in 1884 after an earthquake damaged the structure.

Learn More

The idea for a memorial to George Washington was announced in 1783, and, after an outlay of US$40,000, construction began in 1848.

Robert Mills was a prominent American architect in the first half of the 19th century. He is best known for designing the Washington Monument, which dominates that city’s skyline today.

In 1854, the money ran low, and construction stopped. The Washington Monument remained unfinished for decades.

In 1879, a congressional committee authorized funds to complete the monument, but nothing was done for a decade.

Apart from money issues and the Civil War, construction on the project was halted because of the Know-Nothings. They were anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant activists who had a negative impact on the construction. They didn’t like that Pope Pius IX donated the black stone for the monument

When it was finished in 1884, it was the tallest structure

Washington Monument is located at 2 15th Sq NW, Washington, DC 20024.

The monument draws a lot of visitors, roughly 25 million people each year, according to the National Park Service.

The monument is part of the National Mall in Washington D.C. It has an elevator that takes visitors to the top, where they can view the city.  It is made of marble and granite. The monument took twenty years to build. The monument itself is a copy of the Egyptian obelisks that were built during Ptolemy’s rule.

The Washington Monument has three sides; one side is pointed, and two sides are flat. The pyramidion is a flat hemisphere on top of the monument.

Opening on October 9, 1888, the Washington Monument became a worldwide phenomenon.

On July 4, 1948, the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid. The cornerstone weighs more than 24,500 pounds. It measures 6.5 square feet each way and 2.5 feet high. It has a zinc core that was used to fill the cornerstone with memorabilia. Copperplate seals the core, which bears the date of the American Declaration of Independence.

It’s the tallest man-made structure, predominantly made of stone.

The words “Praise be to God” are inscribed on the aluminum capstone.

Law states that no building higher than the Washington Monument can be built in Washington D.C.

The Washington Monument used to be the tallest structure in the world until the construction of the Eiffel Tower.

There is a staircase with 896 steps that leads to the top of the Washington Monument.

The top of the monument is protected by lightning rods.

The 5.8 magnitude Virginia earthquake damaged the Washington Monument on August 23, 2011. It was closed to undergo repairs and opened on May 12, 2014. It was reopened along with the newly renovated National Museum of Natural History.