The Washington Monument
by Sean Hurley
The Washington National Monument Society was founded in 1833 with the purpose of creating a monument to George Washington. They were frustrated of there being no proper memorial. They got their money mostly from public donations. After they ran out of their budget, they returned the land to Congress. This ended the public phase of construction
Construction took place in two main phases from 1848 through 1856 and 1876 through 1884. The reason it stopped in 1856 was due to a lack of funds. This was caused by the controversial Know Nothing Party taking over the society. The society was founded by John Marshall, James Madison, Daniel Brent, James Kearney, Joseph Gales, and several others.
They were able to raise $28,000 by 1836. From 1836 through 1840, they held a design competition for artists and architects alike. After searching for nearly two decades they settled on a design by Robert Mills in 1854. It was of a 600 foot obelisk surrounded by a colonnade of 30 100 foot columns, and 30 statues of prominent revolutionary war heros.
Washington National Monument Society
Monument from 1848 to 1884
1783- An equestrian statue of George Washington was proposed by congress.
1791 - Pierre L’Enfant chooses site and location of the monument.
1832 - Horatio Greenough is commissioned by congress to make a statue of George Washington.
1833 - The Washington National Monument Society was formed.
1836 - Fundraiser for donations and designs is started by the society.
1840 - George Washington statue by Horatio Greenough is finished.
1848 - The cornerstone is laid.
1853 - The controversial Know Nothing Party gains control of the Washington National Monument Society.
1854 - The society goes bankrupt.
1876 - Congress assumes funding and building of the Washington Monument.
1884 - The capstone is laid, finishing the monument.
1885 - The Washington Monument is dedicated.
1886 - The monument is open to the public.
1887 - The monument is closed until it can be better protected from vandals.
1888 - The monument reopens with a public elevator
Timeline of Washington Monument