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KF5JRV > TODAY    06.12.18 13:30l 47 Lines 2458 Bytes #6 (0) @ WW
BID : 26443_KF5JRV
Subj: Today in History - Dec 06
Sent: 181206/1217Z 26443@KF5JRV.#NWAR.AR.USA.NA BPQ6.0.17

On this day in 1884, in Washington, D.C., workers place a nine-inch
aluminum pyramid atop a tower of white marble, completing the
construction of an impressive monument to the city’s namesake and the
nation’s first president, George Washington. As early as 1783, the
infant U.S. Congress decided that a statue of George Washington, the
great Revolutionary War general, should be placed near the site of the
new Congressional building, wherever it might be. After then-President
Washington asked him to lay out a new federal capital on the Potomac
River in 1791, architect Pierre L’Enfant left a place for the statue at
the western end of the sweeping National Mall (near the monument’s
present location).

It wasn’t until 1832, however–33 years after Washington’s death–that
anyone really did anything about the monument. That year, a private
Washington National Monument Society was formed. After holding a design
competition and choosing an elaborate Greek temple-like design by
architect Robert Mills, the society began a fundraising drive to raise
money for the statue’s construction. These efforts–including appeals to
the nation’s schoolchildren–raised some $230,000, far short of the $1
million needed. Construction began anyway, on July 4, 1848, as
representatives of the society laid the cornerstone of the monument: a
24,500-pound block of pure white marble.

Six years later, with funds running low, construction was halted. Around
the time the Civil War began in 1861, author Mark Twain described the
unfinished monument as looking like a “hollow, oversized chimney.ö No
further progress was made until 1876–the centennial of American
independence–when President Ulysses S. Grant authorized construction to
be completed.

Made of some 36,000 blocks of marble and granite stacked 555 feet in the
air, the monument was the tallest structure in the world at the time of
its completion in December 1884. In the six months following the
dedication ceremony, over 10,000 people climbed the nearly 900 steps to
the top of the Washington Monument. Today, an elevator makes the trip
far easier, and more than 800,000 people visit the monument each year. A
city law passed in 1910 restricted the height of new buildings to ensure
that the monument will remain the tallest structure in Washington,
D.C.–a fitting tribute to the man known as the “Father of His Country.ö

73 de Scott KF5JRV


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