Visiting D.C. soon? Or, do you live here and want to play tourist for a day? You’ll want to hear this! On September 19, 2019, the Washington Monument reopened its doors to the public after a 37-month closure to modernize the elevator control system and construct a new security screening facility, according to the National Park Service. In addition to lounging on the mall around the landmark, visitors can now enter the facility, ride the elevator to the top and take in the beautiful scenery of Washington, D.C. from 555 above.
More about the monument
When construction was completed on January 31, 1884, the Washington Monument was officially the tallest building in the world at 555 feet, 5-1/8 inches. Today, it is no longer the tallest in the world, but it still stands as the tallest structure in Washington, D.C., with the exception of the Hughes Memorial Tower, a radio tower that stands at 761 feet.
It’s always been said there’s a rule that no building in D.C. can be taller than the Washington Monument. According to Lucy Kempf, former senior city planner at the National Capital Planning Commission, that’s a myth! In a 2014 interview with NPR, Kempf said that the width of the street determines how tall buildings on that street can be, rather than the monument being the reference. Who knew!
Back in 1884, visitors boarded a steam-driven elevator with a trip time of 10 to 12 minutes to ascend to the top of the building. Guests can now expect a speedy 70-second trip thanks to the most recent advancements to the elevator.
Local residents and monument enthusiasts may remember the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that occurred back in 2011 in Mineral, Virginia. Although this town is located 84 miles away from D.C., the Washington Monument unfortunately felt the effects of the quake, and so did some tourists who were inside the structure at the time. Luckily, everyone was all right, but the National Park Service had to close it down until 2014 to repair damages and maximize safety.
The Washington Monument was built to commemorate George Washington and his honorable political and military leadership. The foundation of the United States as we know it was established thanks to his passion and commitment. As the National Park Service puts it, “the monument, like the man, stands in no one’s shadow.”
There is much more to learn about this unique and historic landmark. Click here to plan your visit today!