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Facts about The Washington Monument for Kids

Gathered by: S.Henniman

  • The Washington Monument is an obelisk on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., built to commemorate the first American president, General George Washington.
  • The monument, made of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss, is both the world’s tallest stone structure and the world’s tallest obelisk, standing 555 feet 5+⁄8 inches (169.294 m).
  • Taller monumental columns exist, but they are neither all stone nor true obelisks.
  • The hiatus in construction happened because of co-option by the Know Nothing party, a lack of funds, and the intervention of the American Civil War.
  • A difference in shading of the marble, visible approximately 150 feet or 27% up, shows where construction was halted.
  • Its original design was by Robert Mills, an architect of the 1840s, but his design was modified significantly when construction resumed.
  • The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1848; the capstone was set on December 6, 1884, and the completed monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885.
  • Further political squabbling, along with the North-South division on the Civil War, blocked the completion of the Washington Monument until the late 19th century.
  • By that time, Washington had the image of a national hero who could be celebrated by both North and South, and memorials to him were no longer controversial.
  • That year, which marked the 100th anniversary of Washington’s birth, a large group of concerned citizens formed the Washington National Monument Society.
  • The ground at the intended location proved to be too unstable to support a structure as heavy as the planned obelisk; at that site, 390 feet WNW from the Monument, there now stands a small monolith called the Jefferson Pier.
  • Many of the stones donated for the monument carried inscriptions which did not commemorate George Washington.
  • At the time of its completion, it was the tallest building in the world, and it remains the tallest stone structure in the world.
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