Archive for August 31st, 2016

A Monument to Honor General George Washington, Our First President

August 31st, 2016 Comments off


Weighing 81,120 tons, the Washington Monument stands 555′ 5-1/8″ tall.

The walls of the monument range in thickness from 15′ at the base to 18” at the upper shaft. They are composed primarily of white marble blocks from Maryland with a few from Massachusetts, underlain by Maryland blue gneiss and Maine granite.

A slight color change is perceptible at the 150′ level near where construction slowed in 1854. Inserted into the interior walls are 193 memorial stones presented by individuals, societies, cities, States, and nations of the world.

Attached to in independent iron framework, flights of 896 steps surround an elevator which takes visitors to the observation level, where they can gaze over the city from the monument’s pyramidion windows.


 Bernard R. Green, the noted civil engineer designed the pyramidion and was completely responsible for its successful construction.  The covering slabs of the pyramidion are of marble but seven inches in thickness.  Each of the slabs rests upon projections on the marble ribs.  There are 12 ribs, three upon each side of the well, that spring from the interior face of the wall at the 470-foot level.  The ribs are then carried upward until those nearest the angles of the shaft meet in the hips of the pyramidion, while those in the center of each face are connected still higher in the apex by voussoir stones or keystones, forming two arches intersecting each other at right angles.   The thrust of a corner rib is transmitted to its opposite by the use of horizontal stones between their upper extremities.  

To complete the obelisk, the aluminum capstone weighing 100 ounces, the largest single piece of aluminum cast to that time, was placed atop the pyramidion on Saturday, December 6, 1884.  

Prior to delivery of the capstone in Washington, it was placed on exhibit at Tiffany’s in New York City where it was placed on the floor and persons could have the dubious prestige of “jumping over the top of the Washington Monument.”   



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