DOINews: NPS: Washington Monument Reopens Following Repairs

Last edited 09/05/2019

NPS National Mall & Memorial Parks Superintendent Bob Vogel speaking from behind a lectern; Washington Monument in background.
National Mall & Memorial Parks Superintendent Bob Vogel speaks at the monument's reopening. Photo by Tami Heilemann, DOI.

Secretary Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis welcomed a host of dignitaries and more than 500 invited guests and visitors in a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the reopening of the Washington Monument on Monday, nearly 1,000 days after it was closed due to damage from a 5.8 magnitude earthquake.

The ceremony was emceed by TODAY show weatherman Al Roker and included musical performances by the Old Guard Fife & Drum Corps, the United States Navy Band, the Boy and Girl Choristers of Washington National Cathedral Choir, and American Idol winner Candice Glover.

Additional remarks were given by White House Counselor John Podesta, National Mall & Memorial Parks Superintendent Bob Vogel, philanthropist David Rubenstein, president of The Trust for the National Mall Caroline Cunningham, and Washington Mayor Vincent Gray and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Both Jewell and Jarvis recognized the contributions of philanthropist Rubenstein, whose $7.5 million donation financed half of the repair cost.

“Thanks to the generosity and patriotism of David Rubenstein, a strong public-private partnership with the Trust, and the dedication and skill of countless National Park Service employees and contractors, the Washington Monument is now open to visitors,” Jewell said. “The enduring spirit of public and private donations throughout the history of the Monument continues to live on today with its reopening.”

“This gift was David Rubenstein's way of giving back to our country and as a result of his gift, interest has grown in the condition of other parts of the National Mall, and the Trust for the National Mall has stepped up to help us enter a new level of private-public collaboration,” echoed Jarvis. “Partnership with the private sector has a long history in the National Park Service, so today's repair and reopening is a continuation of that great American tradition.”

After the ceremony, Jewell and Jarvis took the first trips to the reopened observation level with the ceremony participants and special guests, including a group of wounded warriors and students from Aiton Elementary School in Washington.

On August 23, 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake occurred 84 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., causing significant damage to the Washington Monument. Though structurally sound, internal and external structural damage was discovered in many areas.

Repairs on the interior and exterior included crack repair, securing loose stone, replacement of broken stones, repointing of mortar joints, securing cracked interior panels with steel anchors, and replacement of the lighting protection system. In addition, saddle anchors were installed to secure the pyramidion panels to adjacent ribs for seismic strengthening.

By: Mike Litterst, NPS

May 14, 2014

This story appears in the May 14 edition of InsideNPS.

Was this page helpful?

Please provide a comment