February is known for many things, the most prevalent being Valentine’s Day. However, there are many important things that have happened in this month. On February 21, 1885, the Washington Monument was finally dedicated. The construction of the monument began with the laying of the cornerstone on July 4, 1848 and concluded with the capstone on December 6, 1884. This memorial is in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States, and it is the tallest obelisk, as well as the tallest stone structure in the world at 555 feet and 5 1/8 inches.
It was designed by Robert Mills, also the designer of the Department of Treasury. However, the construction of the monument was not completed until almost 30 years after his death. This was due to a variety of historical occurrences; a lack of funds and a civil war among the most prevalent. Due to the delay, there is a difference in stone color that can be seen about 30% of the way up, where construction was halted for so long. However, construction was completed, with a combination of marble, granite and bluestone gneiss.
Today the Washington Memorial stands at one end of the Reflecting Pool, east of the Lincoln Memorial. The Monument is currently closed to the public, as it was damaged in the August 2011 earthquake. However, the closure is temporary, and it will be opened to the public once again.
–Lindsey Richey is a sophomore Ashbrook Scholar majoring in Political Science and History.