After a three-year closure, the Washington Monument is reopening for the public. The "monumental" monument will be thrown open to the public on the afternoon of September 19 in presence of First Lady Melania Trump. The monument had faced an earthquake in 2011 which had damaged some stones at the top. It was then reopened in 2014 however closed again in 2016 due to constant malfunctions of elevators.
The 555-foot stone structure was closed in September 2016 in order to replace the dated elevator and set security systems for an upgrade. The monument shall open for public at 12 PM on September 19 with First Lady Melania Trump attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony. A week prior, Melania Trump had tweeted that she was eager to reopen the monument.
Looking forward to helping reopen one of our many historic treasures, the Washington Monument, here in the nation’s capital next week! https://t.co/g03YitzMF3— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) September 13, 2019
“We’re just excited to open it again,” said National Park Service Spokesman Mike Litterst, during a Wednesday tour of the site. “The views from up here are like nothing else.”
The obelisk has been shut for most of the past decade. A 2011 earthquake had left cracks in the stones around top of the monument. It was reopened in 2014, but Park Service officials closed it after two years due to a stream of elevator malfunctions. National Park Service spokesperson Mike Litterst said that the elevator malfunction was two or three times a week and that there was no guarantee that people would not get stuck.
Construction for the monument first began in 1848 and took about 40 years to complete. The private organization that was running the project, however, ran out of funding and construction stalled in 1854 at about 150 feet; the delay was stretched due to the Civil War. Construction resumed in 1879 but the constructors were forced to use stone from a different mine which gave the monument its unique two-tone color.
(With inputs from AP)