The Height of the Washington Monument

Quck answer

The Washington Monument is approximately 555 feet (169 meters) tall. It is made of marble, granite, and sandstone. Designed by Robert Mills, it was completed in 1884 and is an iconic symbol of the United States. The monument is located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and serves as a tribute to George Washington, the first President of the United States. Visitors can take an elevator or climb the 897 steps to reach the observation deck at the top, which offers panoramic views of the city.

George Washington remains a significant figure in American history. He led the colonies through the Revolutionary War as a military leader, and played a key role in the formation of the Constitution before serving as the first President of the United States. How can we pay tribute to such an important historical figure?

In the 1780s, the Continental Congress decided to honor Washington by building a prominent monument at the location of the new national government. Peter L’Enfant’s design for Washington, D.C. in 1791 made the Washington Monument the centerpiece of the new city.

However, the construction of the monument was delayed. It wasn’t until 1836 that Robert Mills’ architectural design for a tall obelisk, which would stand above the city, was chosen by the Washington National Monument Society. An obelisk is a tall, narrow monument with four sides that tapers towards the top, ending in a pyramid.

The cornerstone for the Washington Monument was laid on July 4, 1848, by the Society, and construction began shortly after. Unfortunately, due to the Civil War and other political pressures, the construction had to be paused. For many years, the Washington Monument stood at a height of only about 150 feet.

Eventually, the construction was completed, and the capstone was placed on December 6, 1884. The Washington Monument was officially dedicated on February 21, 1885, and opened to the public on October 9, 1888. Finally, its height was determined to be 555 feet 51⁄8 inches!

The Washington Monument is located at the west end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It is positioned directly east of the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial.

Constructed with marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss, it is the tallest structure in Washington, D.C., the tallest stone structure in the world, and the tallest obelisk in the world. Comprised of 36,491 stone blocks, the monument weighs 90,854 tons!

When it was completed, the Washington Monument held the title of the tallest structure in the world. However, in 1889, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France surpassed its height.

At the very top of the Washington Monument, there is a pyramid made of aluminum. During the monument’s construction, aluminum was as valuable as silver. At that time, it was the largest single piece of aluminum ever cast.

The Washington Monument features an elevator and an 897-step stairway that leads to an observation deck 500 feet above ground. On a clear day, one can see over 30 miles in all directions.

In 2011, the Washington Monument suffered damage during an earthquake centered in Virginia. Following the incident, the National Park Service closed the monument for inspection and repairs. It reopened in 2015. However, in 2016, it was closed again due to elevator repairs. It reopened in 2019.

Give It a Try

What an extraordinary Wonder of the Day! Keep the learning going and engage in the following enjoyable activities with a friend or family member:

  • Have you ever had the opportunity to witness the Washington Monument in person? If not, you are missing out on a truly remarkable architectural wonder. Take a moment to browse through these captivating photos and videos of the Washington Monument, graciously provided by the National Park Service.
  • Are you ready to embark on a journey to our nation’s capital? Many educational institutions organize trips to Washington, D.C. due to the abundance of historical sites that can be explored within a short period of time. However, if you are unable to visit Washington, D.C. in the near future, don’t fret! You can still experience everything our capital has to offer through The Virtual Tour of Washington, D.C. available online! From the iconic Washington Monument and the esteemed White House to the majestic Capitol and the revered Jefferson Memorial, you can marvel at these sights and gain a wealth of knowledge about their historical significance from the comfort of your own home. You can even virtually explore the remarkable collections housed in some of the city’s most renowned museums!
  • Feeling up for a challenge? How about designing your very own memorial? Select someone worthy of honor, whether it be a current or former American President, a courageous war hero, or even a beloved relative or parent. Choose someone who inspires you. Reflect upon the qualities that you admire in this person. What type of memorial would be a fitting tribute to their character and achievements? Perhaps an obelisk akin to the Washington Monument? Or maybe a statue reminiscent of the iconic Lincoln Memorial? Or perhaps something entirely unique? Grab your art supplies and sketch out your vision for the memorial. If your chosen subject is a relative or someone you know personally, share your design and thoughts with them. It will undoubtedly brighten their day!


1. How tall is the Washington Monument?

The Washington Monument stands at a height of 555 feet and 5 1/8 inches (169.294 meters). It is an iconic obelisk located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., dedicated to the first President of the United States, George Washington.

2. When was the Washington Monument built?

The construction of the Washington Monument began in 1848 and was completed in 1884. However, due to various issues, including lack of funding and the American Civil War, there was a significant delay in its construction. The monument was finally opened to the public on October 9, 1888.

3. What is the purpose of the Washington Monument?

The Washington Monument serves as a symbol of the United States and honors the legacy of George Washington. It stands as a reminder of his leadership and contributions to the nation’s founding. Visitors can also enjoy panoramic views of Washington, D.C. from its observation deck.

4. Can you go inside the Washington Monument?

Yes, visitors can go inside the Washington Monument and explore its interior. The monument has an elevator that takes visitors to the observation deck, located at a height of 500 feet. Inside, there are also exhibits showcasing the history and significance of the monument.

5. Are there any restrictions for visiting the Washington Monument?

While visiting the Washington Monument, there are certain restrictions to ensure the safety and preservation of the monument. For example, visitors are not allowed to bring large bags or backpacks inside. Additionally, tickets are required to enter the monument, and it is advisable to book them in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *