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In Search of Sanity
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
By Michael E. Ruane, Published: May 10 E-mail the writer
The cracks have been repaired. The stone has been patched. The elevator is fixed.

The 500 tons of scaffolding have been down for weeks, and the lawn is freshly mowed.

On Monday, 994 days since an earthquake shook the Washington Monument from top to bottom, the marble-and-granite national landmark reopens to the public . . . .

The repair project came after the 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck the East Coast on Aug. 23, 2011, whipsawing the monument, shaking stone loose from the surface, and opening cracks so wide that light shined through.

Debris tumbled from the exterior and interior of the 555-foot-tall (169.294 M) obelisk, damaging the internal elevator and leaving cracks and gouges in the outside stone . . . .

The repair project required, among other things, inspectors to lower themselves on ropes from the monument’s top to conduct up-close, and hair-raising, examinations of the damaged stone on each face of the structure.

It required 2.7 miles of new sealant between stones, and 53 stainless steel “saddle anchors” to bolt in place slabs on the monument’s slanted pyramidion in case of another earthquake.

The slabs had been held in place mainly by gravity, and engineers worried that the slabs could fall off . . . .

The repair bill was an estimated $15 million. But that was cut in half when local businessman and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein announced that he would chip in $7.5 million. The government paid the rest . . . .

In addition to the earthquake damage, the monument, which was begun in 1848 and finished in 1884, had seen more than a century of rain, snow, sleet and wind. Up close, it was a patchwork of repairs going back decades.

Cracks needed to be filled. Loose hunks of marble had to be dug out and replaced with scores of individual patches called “dutchmen.” Joints had to be smoothed and cleaned. Most of the damage was near the top.

Officials have said 150 dutchman patches were used, so many that work crews ran out of spare marble they had on hand for repairs.

But a company was found that had salvaged old marble steps from homes in Baltimore. And that marble had come from the same quarry as some of the monument marble.

Normally entered by about 600,000 visitors a year, the monument honors George Washington, Revolutionary War hero and the nation’s first president.

The monument, one of the tallest free-standing masonry structures in the world, is also perhaps the most recognized of American structures.

The cornerstone was laid July 4, 1848, at a ceremony attended by then-President James K. Polk, and then-congressman Abraham Lincoln. Work halted from 1858 to 1878 because of a lack of funds.

In December 1884, a 3,300 pound marble capstone was placed atop the monument and capped with a pyramid of aluminum.

The following Feb. 21, on a sunny, frigid day, the monument was dedicated.

Among those in attendance was Secretary of War Robert Lincoln, son of the assassinated chief executive who had been present nearly 37 years before.

Washington Monument


Both images:

40,900 Posts
Story began when Congress of US, in 1790, decided to found a new capital city. So project was entrusted to Pierre L'Enfant. To build Washington, he took into account two criteria: expressiveness and monumentality. The French man wanted for United States, elements with classic style (greek and roman) but also baroque style. Then for his project, he takes as example the Palace of Versailles. He defines two axes (which places at the center, the building of this news): east-west and north-south, and he places the power buildings (for example, the Capitol to the east, while White House to the north)... To note also how Capitol dome remember Saint Paul Cathedral in London. I studied so much european 'pseudo-architecture' in America. Surely I discovered also a lot of incredible things about esoteric secrets. :)

One Brickell CityCentre
18,322 Posts

358 Posts
Architectural speaking, I never liked the Washington monument

I think the obelisk in Buenos Aires is way better and more iconic
but I still like both :)

Then you might like the first Washington Monument in the historic/cultural district of Baltimore's Mount Vernon neighborhood. It is also currently under restoration not because of the earthquake as no damage was caused as a result, but for its 200th bicentennial anniversary commencement in 2015. The Baltimore Washington Monument has the distinction of being the first major architectural memorial to George Washington. The Washington Monument was completed in 1829 and it is 178 feet. It is surrounded by stately homes and four mini parks forming a cross. Its 19th century environment has practicly remained unchanged since. Architect Robert Mills submitted the winning design. Mills' original drawings show a much more ornate creation than the simple Doric column we see today. Today, the Commander-in-Chief can still be seen standing dressed in a Roman toga in the act of handing over his commission as Commander-in-Chief. The 16-foot high marble statue was executed by the Italian sculptor Enrico Causici.

Here's a picture of how huge the statue is to human scale with men at the top as the monument undergoes restoration.

Super Moderator
24,692 Posts
going back to the Washington Monument, it is an ancestor of a certain building in the office world whose shape was partly inspired in part by it.

factoid: GW spent over a year as president in NYC when it was the national capital before Philly and DC.
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