Chapter 27. The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument from the northeast side of the Tidal Basin with the National Park Service's tulip library in the foreground (annuals are planted in place of the tulips after their season passes). Takenat ISO 400, f/20, 1/60 second.

Why It's Worth a Photograph

At just over 555 feet high, the Washington Monument was built to commemorate George Washington, the first president of the United States. This monument is the tallest structure in Washington, D.C., and for a short time the world's tallest structure until the Eiffel Tower was completed in Paris, France in 1889.

When the engineers began work after a hiatus due to the American Civil War, they were faced with a dilemma: There was no more marble that matched the marble used to build the first 150-odd feet some 20 years prior. They contracted with a company to provide similar marble from Sheffield, Massachusetts, but they immediately ran into quality and delivery problems. Eventually, the monument was finished with marble from nearby Cockeysville, Maryland. Today, you can see the three different colors of the marble used in the monument: the first area of marble from the original construction, four rows of the Sheffield, Massachusetts, marble, and the rest from Cockeysville.

The best locations from which to photograph the Washington Monument: (A) the west end of the Lincoln Reflecting Pool, (B) the inner circle of the Washington Monument, (C) the park area just west of the monument, and (D) the Lincoln Memorial. Nearby photo ops: (3) Ford's Theatre, (4) Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, (6) Korean War Veterans Memorial, (7) Lincoln Memorial, (10) National Archives, (11) National Mall, (12) National World War II Memorial, (14) Old Post Office, (16) Smithsonian Institution Castle, (18) Thomas Jefferson Memorial, (26) Vietnam Veterans National Memorial, (28) White House and President's Park.

Figure 27.1. The best ...

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