Breaking News Bar
updated: 7/10/2013 6:27 AM

Park service to light up Washington Monument during restoration

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • The Washington Monument is lit while undergoing repairs, with the U.S. Capitol behind. The National Park Service will light the monument each night at dusk while it undergoes repairs from the 2011 earthquake. It is expected to reopen in spring of 2014.

      The Washington Monument is lit while undergoing repairs, with the U.S. Capitol behind. The National Park Service will light the monument each night at dusk while it undergoes repairs from the 2011 earthquake. It is expected to reopen in spring of 2014.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- While the Washington Monument is closed for earthquake damage repairs over the next year, 488 lamps will restore the marble tower's glow each night on the National Mall.

Beginning Monday, the National Park Service will light the monument each night at dusk. A ceremony is planned for the first lighting with National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis and philanthropist David Rubenstein, who donated $7.5 million to fund half the cost of repairs.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

A blue, semitransparent fabric has been wrapped around the scaffolding that surrounds the monument as it undergoes extensive repairs of its 2011 earthquake damage. It will be lit from behind.

Architect Michael Graves was commissioned to design a scrim to decorate the monument between 1998 and 2000, when it was last restored. His same design was used this time to exaggerate the scale of the monument's stone pattern and the mortar that is being repaired.

National Mall Superintendent Bob Vogel told The Associated Press the lighting marks a milestone in the yearslong effort to restore and reopen the monument to President George Washington.

"We know that our visitors are disappointed that they can't actually go up in the monument," he said. "So, we hope that this will make up for it just a little."

The monument will be lit gradually from bottom to top. It takes several minutes for all 488 lights to come to full power, Vogel said. After the first lighting, sensors will light the monument automatically each night at dusk.

Many stones near the top of the monument were chipped or cracked, and mortar was shaken loose during a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Aug. 23, 2011, along the East Coast.

Experts have completed a detailed analysis of each stone's damage. Now, they are working to ensure all the repair plans are just right, from the color of mortar to a process for injecting a sealant into cracked stones, Vogel said. Within days, they will begin making final repairs, working stone by stone across the surface and inside the obelisk.

The monument is expected to reopen once the repairs are completed in spring 2014, the park service has estimated.

In the meantime, the National Park Service is launching a live online EarthCam view of the monument and of the National Mall.

The monument lighting also marks Rubenstein's role in a larger campaign to restore neglected sites on the National Mall, officials said. The co-founder of the Carlyle Group investment firm has joined the nonprofit Trust for the National Mall as a co-chairman to help raise $350 million to preserve and restore sites in the nation's most-visited national park.

"He's taking his leadership role as a co-chair of the campaign for the National Mall very seriously," said Caroline Cunningham, the fundraising group's president. "We're really grateful for not only his passion about the restoration of the Washington Monument but his passion for the campaign to restore the National Mall."

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here