On this page you will learn some fun facts about the Washington monument, one of the most popular monuments in Washington, DC. A monument to honor our first President, George Washington, was first discussed by the Continental Congress in 1783. However, no action was taken until 1833, when the Washington National Monument Society was organized.
A group of influential and important people in Washington, D.C., formed the Washington National Monument Society in 1833. The purpose of the society was to establish a George Washington memorial to honor the "Father of our Country". Included in the group were men such as James Madison and John Marshall. The group began raising money and planning the national monument, and a final design was selected in 1847, as part of a contest. Robert Mills was the architect chosen to design the Washington monument. His vision of the original monument can be seen in the design below.
Only 152 feet of the Washington monument had been constructed when the Society ran out of funds. Construction stopped for 20 years, due to lack of money and the Civil War. Construction finally resumed in 1876, in time for the centennial of the United States of America. Because of the centennial, interest in the Washington monument was re-ignited and President U.S. Grant signed a bill calling for government funding to finish it. Construction was taken over by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the building was finally completed in 1884. After the interior was finished, the Washington Monument officially opened to the public on October 9, 1888.
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NOTE: On August 23, 2011, the Washington Monument suffered damage from an earthquake. It is temporarily closed for repairs. To see some pictures of the damage, visit the National Park Service.
The Washington Monument is open daily except July 4 and December 25.
Summer Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (May 31 - September 6, 2010), with the last tour beginning before 9:45 p.m
Rest of Year: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the last tour beginning before 4:45 p.m.
Washington Monument Tickets can be reserved by going to the National Park Service website or call 1-877-444-6777 for individual tickets or 1-877-559-6777 for group reservations. There is a $1.50 service charge per ticket. You can also visit the Washington Monument Lodge (located along 15th street) to purchase tickets. Visiting the monument is the best way to learn more facts about the Washington monument!
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There are many wonderful guided tours of Washington D.C. monuments and the Washington D.C. area available. On these tours you can learn more facts about the Washington monument and see some beautiful Washington, D.C. scenery. One of the most beautiful tours would have to be the Old Town Trolley and Monuments by Moonlight Package. This tour was voted "Washington's Best Tour" by the Washingtonian Magazine! If you want to skip the trolley ride, you can just take the spectacular Monuments by Moonlight Night Tour.Another fun one is the Old Town Trolley and DC Ducks Package. With this tour, you can see Washington DC on land and water. This 90-minute Washington DC tour will take you through the city of Washington before splashing down into the Potomac River for the most unique ride of your life! Climb aboard an authentic, fully restored 1942 "Duck" and let the adventure begin!
Given by President Chester A. Arthur
Before the dawn of the century whose eventful years will soon have faded into the past-when death had but lately robbed this republic of its most beloved and illustrious citizen-the Congress of the United States pledged the faith of the nation that in this city, bearing his honored name and then as now the seat of the general government, a monument should be erected to commemorate the great events of his military and political life." The stately column that stretches heavenward from the plain whereon we stand bears witness to all who behold it that the covenant which our fathers made their children have fulfilled.
In the completion of this great work of patriotic endeavor there is abundant cause for national rejoicing, for while this structure shall endure it shall be to all mankind a steadfast token of the affectionate and reverent regard in which this people continue to hold the memory of Washington. Well may he ever keep the foremost place in the hearts of his countrymen. The faith that never faltered; the wisdom that was broader and deeper than any learning taught in schools; the courage that shrank from no peril and was dismayed by no defeat; the loyalty that kept all selfish purpose subordinate to the demands of patriotism and honor; the sagacity that displayed itself in camp and cabinet alike, and above all that harmonious union of moral and intellectual qualities which has never found its parallel among men-these are the attributes of character which the intelligent thought of this century ascribes to the grandest figure of the last. But other and more eloquent lips than mine will today rehearse to you the story of his noble life and its glorious achievements. To myself has been assigned a simpler and moral formal duty, in fulfillment of which I do now, as president of the United States and in behalf of the people, receive this monument from the hands of its builder and declare it dedicated from this time forth to the immortal name and memory of George Washington.
If you enjoyed these fun facts about the Washington Monument, you will enjoy reading about some of our other historical monuments and memorials!