From idea to completion, it took 105 years to build the Washington Monument and open it to the public. The elevator has quite a history of its own — used for construction, open for guests, closed for repairs...
Washington D.C. has its hidden gems, but none perhaps as hidden as the long-gone and long-forgotten carp ponds of the National Mall, a main attraction in the District for close to three decades. But you’ve probably never heard of them, and the U.S. government is happy about that.
The modern-day DC Caribbean Carnival is a small affair, at least compared to the world-famous parades in carnival cities. There are plenty of revelers — and people celebrating Caribbean culture — but the capital certainly doesn’t come to a halt the way cities like New Orleans do on Mardi Gras. This hasn’t always been the case, however. For one year, in 1871, Washington, D.C. stumbled into hosting a Carnival parade that rivaled those in New Orleans itself. The National Fete, as it also became known, was an extremely patriotic version of the Carnival festivities, with national flags, “Yankee Doodle,” and rockets’ red glare mingling with the Lord of Misrule and the masquerade.
The Washington Monument reopened in spring of 2014, after being closed for repairs needed to repair damage suffered during an earthquake three years ago. The latter included cracks that developed in the monument's marble panels and damage to the mortar that holds the approminately 555-foot-tall structure together.
But those problems aren't the first woes that have plagued the monument, which will mark the 130th anniverary of its completion in December. Back in 1911, for example, some believed that monument was afflicted with an even more peculiar problem, trumpeted in a December 1911 article in Popular Mechanics magazine by John S. Mosby, Jr., which bore the provocative title: Washington Monument Attacked by 'Geological Tuberculosis.'" Mosley wrote that the monument "is suffering from a disintegration that, while not immediately fatal, will materially shorten its life."
On the evening of March 5, 1854, nine men associated with the Know-Nothing party snuck up to the base of the Washington Monument and made off with a rather hefty hunk of stone. The men carried the stone to a boat waiting on the tidal basin, smashed it into pieces and dumped it in the middle of the Potomac.
You may be curious as to why they (or we!) were interested in an old — and probably really heavy — rock. Where exactly did this stone come from and why was it such a big deal when it was stolen and destroyed? Maybe it was the fact that it came from the Pope... Just a guess.