On December 6, 1884, the Washington Monument was completed in Washington, D.C.. Designed by architect Robert Mills, the cornerstone of the monument was laid during an elaborate 4th of July celebration in 1848 by the masons. The monument is made of marble, granite and bluestone gneiss. It is the world’s tallest stone structure and the world’s tallest obelisk. It stands 555 feet 5 1/8 inches tall. The monument’s construction was completed on this day in 1884 and it was dedicated on February 21, 1885.
Named after our nation’s first president, the monument’s construction began in 1832. It wasn’t completed until 1884 due to low funding and the American civil war.
Pictured here (circa 1860) is the monument as it stood for nearly 25 years when construction was stalled. (Photograph taken by Matthew Brady.) The hiatus in construction can be viewed on the monument itself. At about 150 feet up, the shading of the marble changes, showing where the construction was halted and then picked back up 25 years later. The architect, Robert Mills, never even got to see the completed monument as it wasn’t actually completed until thirty years after his death.
At the dedication ceremony on December 6, 1884, P.H. McLaughlin placed the aluminum tip of the monument…as pictured here in a 1884 illustration from Harper’s Weekly. The tip was a 100 ounce aluminum tip and lightning-rod.
In the six months that followed the dedication, more than 10,000 people visited the monument and went to the top by foot. Before the elevator was in use for carrying passengers up, this climb included 897 steps and 50 landings.
From 1998-2001 and again in 2004, the monument underwent restoration as pictured below. It was cleaned, repaired, updated and restored both internally and externally.
The interior of the monument holds over 190 commemorative stones donated by various governments and organizations from all over the world. One of the most memorable views of the Washington Monument, as it is often shown from this angle, is that of the view from the Lincoln Memorial. This view is pictured below (courtesy of Delaywaves)
For more information on the construction of the Washington Monument, see this History.com article.