Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Capital Travel - Washington Monument Closed

We wrote last month about the closing of Statue of Liberty for a year of renovation. If you are planning a timeshare vacation to Washington, D.C., you’ll find another iconic American structure closed to the public.

The Washington Monument is closed indefinitely due to damage sustained in the August, 2011, Virginia earthquake. Needed repairs are more extensive than initially thought.

The monument, made primarily of marble and granite, is the world’s tallest obelisk, standing at just over 555 feet. When it was opened in 1888 it was the tallest structure in the world, surpassing the Cologne Cathedral, and kept that title until the Eiffel Tower opened in 1889.

When open to the public you can climb to the top of the monument via a whopping 897 steps, or ascend in the elevator which takes over a minute to get to the observation floor. (The original elevator was driven by steam and took 20 minutes to go to the top.) However you get there, the stunning views of Washington, D.C. are worth it, and include a fascinating bird’s-eye view of the Pentagon, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Capitol.

The Washington Monument was closed from 1998 to 2001 for an extensive renovation project that included a new custom-designed elevator cab with glass windows, which allows visitors to see some of the 193 commemorative stones embedded in the monument's walls.

The monument was again closed almost 6 months in 2004-2005 for security upgrades.

Inspection following the Virginia earthquake indicate damage including significant mortar debris, cracks in some of the vertical joints of the pyramid-shaped top, and damage to the elevator which is only able to ascend half way.

Although Park Service officials have no timetable for reopening the Washington Monument, the structure is in no danger of collapsing. "It's structurally sound and not going anywhere,” said Bob Vogel, Superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, at a press conference on September 26, 2011.

The National Park Service has posted a video online taken from a surveillance camera showing what it was like at the top of the Washington Monument during the August earthquake.

All other monuments and museums are currently open in Washington, D.C. So go ahead and plan a fun and fascinating timeshare rental vacation to our Nation’s Capital.

Photo Credit: washington-monument.visit-washington-dc.com

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