Washingon Monument Facts

13 Interesting Facts About the Washington Monument

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The Washington Monument is an iconic structure that dominates the Washington D.C. skyline, standing tall as a testament to the nation’s first president, George Washington. Completed in 1884, this remarkable monument has a rich history and is an essential stop for anyone visiting the capital city. In this blog post, we will dive into some fascinating facts about the Washington Monument, exploring its construction, design, and significance in American history.

Ever since I went to the top of the Washington Monument for its reopening I learned quite a bit about the history of this National landmark.

Washington Monument Facts

This monument has tons of history but here are 13 of the most interesting Washington Monument facts.

  1. The Monument is built of free-standing masonry which means there is no cement holding the blocks together.
  2. The original elevator ride took 8-10 minutes (A common myth is that the elevator ride was deemed unsafe for women & children when it opened to the public). Currently the elevator ride to the top takes about 70 seconds.
  3. There are 896 steps to the top of the Washington Monument.
  4. The stairs were closed to visitors going up in 1971 and going down in 1976 due to vandalism and safety concerns. Since then there have been ranger led groups down the stairs but due to staffing issues conditions this is often prevented years at a time. To allow visitors to see the inside of the Monument the windows of the elevator defog at certain points to add to the experience. An elevator worker once ran up the stairs in 11 minutes while doing repairs in 1959.
  5. The cap at the tip of the Monument is made out of aluminum which was a new and rare process at the time.
  6. DC’s height law states that no building can be built more than 20 times taller than the width of the street in front of it or 160 feet, whichever is shorter. Making the Washington Monument is the tallest building in DC (since it doesn’t follow this restriction).
  7. The view from the top includes views over 30 miles away.
  8. When originally built, the Washington Monument was the tallest building in the world at 555 feet tall. This record was broken in 1889 when the Eiffel Tower was built.
  9. The color of the marble changes at the 152 foot mark. Construction was halted due to a lack of funding; when construction started again they used marble from a different quarry.
  10. Three different types of stones were used to build the Monument; including stones from Maryland (north of Baltimore) and Massachusetts.
  11. It cost $1,187,710 to build the Monument which is equivalent to $30 million dollars in today’s currency.
  12. The trowel used to lay the cornerstone of the Monument was the same trowel used by George Washington to lay the cornerstone of the Capitol in 1793.
  13. The original design by Robert Mills for the Washington Monument included 30 stone columns and statues of Declaration of Independence signers.
Washington Monument on Google Maps

How to Get Washington Monument Tickets

Now that you know the Washington Monument facts, of course you want tickets to the top.

If you’re planning a sightseeing visit to Washington D.C. you’ll want to get tickets here. If you don’t have tickets in advance you can always show up early for tickets at the Monument Lodge on 15th Street. For more information about tickets visit the National Park Service’s website.

Experiencing the tallest building in DC is a must if you want to get the most out of DC’s attractions.

Why Was The Washington Monument Built?

Construction on the Washington Monument started in 1848 to act as a tribute to George Washington’s military leadership during the American Revolution. As stated previously the monument was completed construction in 1884.

Washington Dc Panorama
Washington Monument Panorama View

Quick Washington Monument Facts

Address: 2 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20007
Height: 554 ft 7 in
Width at Base: 55 ft
Stones Used: Over 36,000
Materials: Marble, Granite, and Bluestone Gneiss
Opened: February 21, 1885
Architect: Robert Mills

Photos of the Washington Monument

After visiting the Monument hundreds of times here are my favorite photos I’ve taken of the Washington Monument. It’s hard not to love the reflections of the Monument in the Tidal Basin and Reflecting Pool.

These facts have been confirmed by the Department of Interior.

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21 comments on “13 Interesting Facts About the Washington Monument”

  1. My name is Mike Wells I was in elementary school when I went down to visit I was approximately 7to9 yeas old. And I’m 63 years old now and I can still remember my experience of running down them steps we won’t supposed to but we did you bought the fond memories back by seeing these pictures thank you for the memory walk Mike Wells

  2. Wow!!! This all really amazing information. Great work. I love to learn about the stories behind this great monuments and the times while their being built!
    Thank you!

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  4. Isn’t “LAUS DEO” “praise be to God” etched at the top of the monument?
    That should be an interesting FACT to include!

  5. #AwesomenessForLife

    These facts were all really interesting. I enjoyed reading them and learning more about the Washington Monument!

    1. In May 1948 my high school graduating class from Rush Pennsylvania had a 4 day trip to Washington D.C. and one of our tour visits was the Washington monument. Three couples from our group climbed the 896 steps to the top .That was 75 years ago and two of the climbers are still with us ,…Anna Mae and Mary Jo. Experience of a lifetime.!!

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