Washington monument and egyptian obelisk
Washingtons Monument: And the Fascinating History of the Obelisk by John Steele GordonConceived soon after the American Revolution ended, the great monument to George Washington was not finally completed until almost a century later; the great obelisk was finished in 1884, and remains the tallest stone structure in the world at 555 feet. The story behind its construction is a largely untold and intriguing piece of American history, which acclaimed historian John Steele Gordon relates with verve, connecting it to the colorful saga of the ancient obelisks of Egypt.
Nobody knows how many obelisks were crafted in ancient Egypt, or even exactly how they were created and erected since they are made out of hard granite and few known tools of the time were strong enough to work granite. Generally placed in pairs at the entrances to temples, they have in modern times been ingeniously transported around the world to Istanbul, Paris, London, New York, and many other locations. Their stories illuminate that of the Washington Monument, once again open to the public following earthquake damage, and offer a new appreciation for perhaps the most iconic memorial in the country.
5 Things You Might Not Know About the Washington Monument
It is at once so great and so simple that it seems to be almost a work of nature. Senate proceedings on the McMillan Plan for the monument grounds, Upon its dedication in , the Washington Monument was the tallest structure in the world. Begun in to honor George Washington, the structure wasn't completed for over 36 years. Construction and financing problems slowed progress and the Civil War halted it completely. In , after construction had resumed, chief engineer Lt. Colonel Thomas Lincoln Casey determined that the base was too shallow and narrow to support the weight of the planned monument.
After Washington died in , Congress considered building him a pyramid-shaped mausoleum to be housed in the Capitol rotunda; however, the plan never came to fruition. The group, headed by Chief Justice John Marshall, organized a design competition and eventually named as the winner architect Robert Mills , whose credits include the U. Treasury Building and the U. Construction commenced, but in , with the structure at about feet high, funds ran low and work came to a standstill. That same year, an anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic activist group called the Know Nothings became angry that Pope Pius IX had donated a block of stone from the ancient Roman Temple of Concord for the monument.
Construction of the monument began in and was halted from to due to a lack of funds, a struggle for control over the Washington National Monument Society, and the American Civil War. Although the stone structure was completed in , internal ironwork, the knoll, and other finishing touches were not completed until The original design was by Robert Mills , but he did not include his proposed colonnade due to a lack of funds, proceeding only with a bare obelisk.
quotes on irony of fate
2. The original design for the monument was much different than what ended up being built.
George Washington's military and political leadership were indispensable to the founding of the United States. As commander of the Continental Army, he rallied Americans from thirteen divergent states and outlasted Britain's superior military force. As the first president, Washington's superb leadership set the standard for each president that has succeeded him. The Washington Monument towers above the city that bears his name, serving as an awe-inspiring reminder of George Washington's greatness. The monument, like the man, stands in no one's shadow. Army Corps of Engineers, honors and memorializes George Washington at the center of the nation's capital. The structure was completed in two phases of construction, one private and one public
Obelisk , tapered monolithic pillar , originally erected in pairs at the entrances of ancient Egyptian temples. It was designed to be wider at its square or rectangular base than at its pyramidal top, which was often covered with an alloy of gold and silver called electrum. While obelisks are known to have been erected as early as the 4th dynasty c. The earliest surviving obelisk dates from the reign of Sesostris I — bce and stands at Heliopolis , a suburb of Cairo , where once stood a temple to Re. One of a pair of obelisks erected at Karnak by Thutmose I c. In the Temple of Hatshepsut at Thebes are scenes of the transport of the obelisk down the Nile by barge. At its destination workmen put the shaft into place upon its detached base by hauling it up a ramp made of earth and tilting it.
This week, David Clark will be our tour guide as we take a closer look at some of America's greatest monuments. His series continues today with the story of the Washington Monument. Only ten days after the death of George Washington in , Congress decided they should build some kind of grand monument for the late president-general, the "Father of His Country. And nothing continued to happen, as nothing does, despite several fervid public statements made by G. This guilt-ridden procrastination continued on until the most passionate Washington Monument devotees formed a Washington National Monument Society in , to kick-start the long-postponed project and give the Father of Founding Fathers his due. Where the pointy spire now stands, we could have had an ornate Gothic tower, a creepy mini-pyramid, a rectangular column with a Washington-Colossus perched atop. Obelisks, of course, were a favorite shape first for the Ancient Egyptians, and then for the Romans.