The Washington Monument honors the first president of the United States

November 28, 2012 7:56 am

Washington Monument
The Washington Monument honors the first president of the , George Washington. This marble pillar is in Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital. The capital city is also named for the first president.
The Washington Monument is one of the tallest—and skinniest—stone structures in the world! Hundreds of thousands of people visit it every year.
WHO THOUGHT OF THE MONUMENT?
George Washington led the American army during the American Revolution (1775-1783). He helped create the nation he later served as first president. People began planning ways to honor Washington with a monument during his lifetime. But Washington didn’t like the idea.
In 1833, years after Washington’s death in 1799, a group of citizens formed the Washington National Monument Society. The society selected a design by architect Robert Mills. Mills designed a four-sided stone pillar called an obelisk. Obelisks originated in ancient Egypt.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO BUILD?
Work on the monument went slowly. Political squabbles, lack of money, and the Civil War (1861-1865) halted work. In 1876, President Ulysses Grant approved using government money to continue the job. The monument was finally finished in 1884. It opened to the public four years later, in 1888.
WHAT DOES THE MONUMENT LOOK LIKE?
The Washington Monument soars 555 feet (169 meters) into the air. It gets narrower higher up. At the top, it comes to a pyramid-shaped point. The monument’s walls are made of white marble.
CAN YOU GO INSIDE THE MONUMENT?
Inside the Washington Monument there are 897 steps and an elevator. They take visitors to an observation room near the top of the monument. From here, you can see other landmarks in Washington, D.C., such as the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, and the Capitol building.
If you climb the stairs, you’ll see 192 memorial stones. The society that planned the monument asked individuals, states, and patriotic groups to donate stones. The stones now line the inside of the monument. Some countries also donated stones for the monument.
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