Sitting due East of the Lincoln Memorial, the magnificent Washington Monument is the world’s tallest obelisk and an unforgettable memorial to an illustrious man, the first President of the United States, General George Washington. Made of white marble and blue gneiss from Maryland, as well as granite from Maine, the monument stands over 555 feet tall, and is also the world’s tallest stone structure.
Construction began on July 4th, 1848 after much discussion and fundraising following Washington’s death in 1799. Construction was halted in 1854 when donations were scarce, but began once again in 1877. This halt explains the different colors of marble in the middle of the structure. The aluminum tip – quite expensive at the time – was placed in December 1884, and acts as a lightning rod for the colossal structure as well.
More elaborate designs were considered, as many thought a simple obelisk would look absurd, but costs were inhibiting and better aesthetic judgment presided.Facts and history aside, the monument is truly a powerful memorial to a man who helped shape our country and its secure its future. Without fail, every time I drive into Washington, D.C., I pause at one of the numerous stoplights and take a photo of the Washington Monument. With extra colonnades and pomp, the structure wouldn’t have had the same effect. As it is, honest and grand, it is just like the man it represents. As the committee discussing the structure required: ‘(it) should blend stupendousness with elegance, and be of such magnitude and beauty as to be an object of pride to the American people, and of admiration to all who see it.’ Mission beautifully accomplished.