The Washington Monument is a 555-foot tall marble obelisk that towers over the Washington DC skyline. Built to honor the 1st President of the United States, George Washington, this is the world’s most notable monument of its kind (but not the first).
Work on the Washington Monument began on July 4th, 1848, but stalled out in 1855 when the society supporting it went bankrupt. When work resumed in 1876, stone was sourced from a different quarry, causing visual differences you can still spot today: the brown streak separating the lower one-third and upper two-thirds of the monument distinguish the difference.
The best view of the Washington Monument is from the park surrounding it, but an elevator ride to the top offers commanding panoramic views of DC’s other most iconic landmarks. On the way up you can spot 193 different Commemorative Stones set into the interior staircase walls.
The 50 flags surrounding the Washington Monument symbolize the 50 United States. Flags surrounding the monument were initially flown on Washington’s Birthday in 1920, soon after became a mainstay on holidays, and by 1958 were flown daily. They have been flying 24-hours/day by Presidential Proclamation since July 4th, 1971.