The 555-foot (169-meter) marble obelisk, a centerpiece of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was built between the 1840s and 1880s. It is dedicated to the country’s first President, George Washington.
Several factors have contributed to the monument’s needs for upgrades. One of them was the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook the area in August 2011, resulting in structural damage, including some 150 cracks in the obelisk.
This time around, the refurbishments have been broader in scope — most notably, there is a new visitor screening center that replaces the temporary structure put there after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
According to a release from the National Park Service, “the new glass and steel facility will offer full ballistic and blast protection and includes queuing space for 18-20 visitors at a time, screening equipment, an accessible restroom for National Park Service and U.S. Park Police staff and a security office.”
The monument is on track to reopen to the public in August 2019, with a specific date and time to be set soon.
Philanthropist David M. Rubenstein was a chief donor to the restoration project. He has also funded work at several other historic sites in the capital, including the Lincoln Memorial and the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument.