Washington Monument reopens after 3-year closure for repairs | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Washington Monument reopens after 3-year closure for repairs

Associated Press
1691770_web1_1691770-b80f9bbeaa254490ad339ad8896b7494
AP
A sign greets visitors outside of the Washington Monument during a press preview tour ahead of the monument’s official reopening, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Washington.
1691770_web1_1691770-25e82e87dc1a40279c9f1a8c004aa05f
AP
Clouds roll over the Washington Monument, as seen from the foot of the monument, during a press preview tour ahead of its official reopening, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Washington.
1691770_web1_1691770-577d10980e7c4548b82b55b833d8628a
AP
A visitor looks out toward the U.S. Capitol from the Washington Monument’s observation level during a press preview tour ahead of the monument’s official reopening, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Washington.

WASHINGTON — After a three-year closure, the Washington Monument is reopening to the public.

The 555-foot stone obelisk was closed in September 2016 in order to replace the aging elevator and upgrade security systems. The monument will reopen to the public at noon on Thursday, and first lady Melania Trump is expected to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“We’re just excited to open it again,” said National Park Service Spokesman Mike Litterst, during a Wednesday tour of the site. “The views from up here are like nothing else.”

The monument has been closed for most of the past eight years. An August 2011 earthquake left cracks in the stones near the top of the obelisk. It reopened in 2014, but Park Service officials were forced to close it again two years later after a series of elevator malfunctions.

“It was two or three times a week,” Litterst said. “We couldn’t guarantee that you wouldn’t get stuck.”

Construction on the monument began in 1848 and took nearly 40 years to complete. The private organization that was running the project ran out of funding and construction was halted in 1854 at around 150 feet; that delay was exacerbated by the Civil War.

Construction resumed in 1879, but builders were forced to use stone from a different quarry — giving the obelisk its distinctive two-tone color.

At the time of its completion, it was the tallest building in the world, but was soon overtaken by the Eiffel Tower in 1889.

It remains the tallest building in Washington and, when open, averages about 500,000 visitors per year.

Categories: News | World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.