December 6, 1884: the largest piece of aluminum in history up to that point is placed onto the Washington Monument, marking its completion. It wouldn’t be open to the public until October, four years later, but it was at this time that construction was finished. At the time of its completion it was the tallest man-made structure in the world, though it would be beaten by the Eiffel Tower in the years to come. The entire monument area spans across 106.01 acres and towers at an astonishing 555 feet over Washington DC. Anyone who has stood underneath it knows how it really embodies the adjective “towering.”
Construction began as the cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1848. It was slow going, and wouldn’t be finished for over 30 years, taking a break during the Civil War and of course due to it simply being a difficult structure to build in that time. For example, finding enough stone in nearby quarries proved exceptionally difficult and other options had to be coordinated, resulting in infrequent deliveries of materials which slowed down progress.
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