The Washingtonmental Monument

Tuesday July 28, 2009
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Our objective lies ahead of us.

At the beginning of summer, as I considered the various activities I wanted to make sure we did this summer, one of them was to go up the Washington Monument.  It was something I remember doing as a kid, and a memory I wanted to make sure our kids acquired.  It used to be, you had to show up and wait in line, but nowadays they’ve got sophisticated and you can order tickets online, for a whopping $1.50 a piece (you can still get them for free at the Monument, but it involves waiting inline in the morning and who can be bothered with that?).   The tickets do sell out weeks in advance, so you have to plan ahead.  A benefit of being local meant we were around all summer, so I finally picked a day and ordered the tickets.

We went Sunday evening and had a great time.  We left the baby monster home with a friend who kindly watched him for us and brought Grandad along for the fun.  Our timed entry was for 8pm and we got to DC a little after 7pm.  I worried we might have rain, but the storms had passed through and it was a gorgeous evening.   The kids had a blast running around the ground and checking out the sites.   For some reason, they keep mis-pronouncing it, the Washingtonmental Monument, which cracked Mike & I up.

Here’s a few fun facts I learned from our outing:

  • The monument is 550′ high
  • It is the tallest “free-standing” structure in the world (I took this to mean that today’s building code would never let you build in such a manner today)
  • The walls at the base are …. 15 FEET thick!   That’s each side!  It’s only 18″ thick at the top
  • Construction begain in 1848, but they ran out of money and the project stalled in 1858
  • In 1876 (the first centennial of the US), construction resumed, and was completed in 1884  (hence the change in color of the stones)
  • Our elevator ride took 70 seconds.  The first steam elevator ride took 12 minutes!
  • You used to be able to walk down the monument, but they don’t let you do it anymore (unless you have really good connections for a private tour)

If you do plan a trip to see the Washingtonmental Monument, I suggest booking your tickets for the evening.  There are far less crowds, the weather is cooler and seeing the sunset on the Mall is the coolest.   Enjoy the pics!

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