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The Washington Monument reopens after 2011 earthquake damages

The Washington Monument reopens after 2011 earthquake damages

It was a long wait, but the Washington Monument reopened to the public May 12, since it was damaged from the 2011 Virginia Earthquake. The obelisk went under an almost three year renovation, costing $15 million to repair damages caused by the 5.8-magnitude earthquake.

The Washington Monument suffered more than 150 cracks all along the monument, including a giant crack right at the top. The public could not visit the 555-foot monument for more than 33 months.

Tourists that were inside the monument during the earthquake in August 2011, rushed to evacuate as the monument began to shake and debris fell. Now, new exhibits have been installed, the cracks and rainwater leaks have been sealed, and the elevator taking guests to the highest point, is open for business again.

“We are delighted to be in the homestretch with the repairs to the Washington Monument almost complete, and we look forward to the re-opening on May 12 so we can once again welcome visitors to this iconic monument to our nation’s first President,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.  

The renovation cost $15 million; half of the cost came from federal taxes and the other half was donated by businessman and philanthropist David Rubenstein.

“We are grateful for David Rubenstein’s generous donation that funded half of the $15 million repair bill,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis went on to say.  “David’s support of the national parks and the work of the National Park Service sets a high standard for park philanthropy nationwide and is appreciated by every visitor who will learn something about President Washington or simply enjoy the view from the top.”

The National Parks Services and The Trust for the National Mall hosted a public reopening ceremony Monday, May 12.  The ceremony attracted a huge audience, making it evident that the Washington Monument is still a beloved part of U.S history.

The Washington Monument was first built in 1848 to commemorate the first president of the United States, George Washington. It took almost 40 years and two phases, between 1848 and 1884, to complete the monument. The monument was the tallest structure when it was complete, until the Eifel Tower surpassed it.



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