In 1783, a thankful U.S. Continental Congress passed a resolution to keep alive the achievements and memory of George Washington by authorizing the erection of an equestrian statue in his honor. The subsequent history of this seemingly simple commemorative intent is fraught with the foibles of human endeavor. Suffice to say that nothing of substance was done. Finally, in 1848 a consensus among many involved groups was achieved, and the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid. It took another 37 years for the monument to be completed and dedicated in 1885. The history of this 102 year saga of the United States' efforts to honor its first president is well recorded in innumerable books, articles, and manuscripts. Just as the Washington Monument is an important symbol for the people of the United States, so also is the aluminum pyramid cap at its apex a symbol for the aluminum industry.
Weighing 90,854 tons, the Washington Monument stands five hundred and fifty five feet and five inches tall. The walls of the monument range in thickness from fifteen feet at the base to eighteen inches' at the upper shaft. They are composed of white marble from Maryland and Massachusetts, underlain by granite, the whole supported by interior ironwork. A slight color change is perceptible at the 152' -level. A flight of 897 steps rises to the observation area in the pyramidion. Inserted into the interior walls are 192 carved stones presented by individuals, societies, cities, States, and nations of the world. An elevator takes visitors to the top, where they can gaze over the city from the monument's windows.
Other landmarks: Christ the Redeemer, Colossus, Delhi pillar, Eiffel tower, Golden Gate bridge, Great Buddha, Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao), Guggenheim Museum (NYC), Normandy bridge, Oresund crossing, Quebec Bridge, Statue of Liberty, Thames Barrier, Titanic, Tower of the Orologio, Washington Monument