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12 Washington Monument Facts for Kids 2024 [Must Read]

The tallest stone building in the entire globe is the Washington Monument. It is situated in Washington, D.C., the home of the United States government. The tallest building in Washington, DC, is this one. The monument stands at 555 feet. You must realize that there are about 900 steps leading up to the monument’s summit to appreciate how lofty that is. The elevator will take you to the monument’s summit in just a little more than a minute; however, those steps are currently off-limits to the general public. Through the windows at the top, you can see Washington, D.C.

12 Interesting Washington Monument Facts For Kids

Washington Monument Facts for Kids

Here are the cool and interesting facts about the Washington Monument for kids, teachers, and parents. 

The current design of the Washington Monument is not the original design. 

Washington Monument Full Design

There was talk of building a monument to General Washington soon after the American Revolution. In reality, Pierre L’Enfant’s original plan for Washington, DC featured a prominent area for the capital city’s namesake between the White House and the U.S. Capitol.

The original design of the Washington Monument was much more elaborate than it is today. 

The Washington National Monument Society raised a lot of money to construct the monument. Its members held a contest to choose the monument’s architect. The winner was a South Carolina-born architect Robert Mills, but his plan is not what you see today in Washington, DC. 

Washington Monument
  • His original design was much more elaborate. It had an obelisk, but thirty 100-foot columns supported it. Mills would devote each column resembling the Roman Pantheon to one of the Declaration of Independence’s thirty signatories; George Washington would be a statue standing in a chariot pulled by six horses.

The Washington Monument construction was delayed for years. 

In 1783, members of the Continental Congress proposed building a monument honoring Washington. But it was put off for several years for various reasons, but the concept attracted newfound interest in 1833. The Washington National Monument Society was established to choose a monument design. Robert Mills planned to build an obelisk that was 183 meters tall.

The Washington Monument was constructed after several decades of planning. 

Washington Monument Old Image

Construction started in 1848, but after making some design adjustments, they halted construction in 1854, and the monument was only 46 meters tall. The Army Corps of Engineers took over the building in 1876. The stone utilized for the monument’s initial part could not be found because of how much time had passed. As a result, the Washington Monument is now three different colors.

The Washington Monument was not the first building honoring the U.S. first President.

The most well-known monument honoring America’s first president is the Washington Monument on the National Mall.  However, The architect Robert Mills discreetly built his own Washington Monument. In Baltimore, about 40 miles northeast of the National Mall, he completed a 200-foot Doric column with sweeping views from the summit in 1829.

Builders used two different shades of white to build the Washington Monument.

Stones from the original Maryland quarry were not accessible when the Army Corps of Engineers started building again after more than 20 years. Instead, they used a stone from a Massachusetts quarry, but after they added a few feet, construction workers disliked how it looked.

Eventually, the builders used stone from a different quarry. The new stone appeared to be a good match at the moment. However, the stones aged differently due to environmental factors, and there is a noticeable color change around one-third of the way up the building.

Check out the CoolKidFacts article on Interesting Christ the Redeemer Facts for Kids.

Aluminum was used to build the top of the Washington Monument.

The obelisk’s tip changed from a flat top to a pointed capstone at some point between Mills’ original design for the Washington Monument and the version finished by the Army Corps of Engineers. A 3,300-pound stone in the shape of a pyramid was placed at the monument’s summit after being pushed through an observation window. But the capstone’s tip is a chunk of aluminum about nine inches long. The unique metal’s use was most likely motivated by the belief that aluminum was the best lightning deterrent. While it could have been the accepted opinion among engineers in the 1880s, metal inevitably conducts electricity.

Builders added lightning rods to the Washington monument. 

Night light near Washington Monument

Six months after installing the aluminum pyramid at the top of the Washington Monument, the engineers returned to the top. They found that it had not only been struck by lightning but had also melted about 3/8ths of an inch. Therefore, lightning rods were added to the landmark’s tip, providing the status of the aluminum top of a distinctive ornament. Inscriptions on each pyramid’s four angled sides honor the men who conceptualized and constructed the structure while commemorating significant building dates.

The Eiffel Tower replaced the Washington Monument as the tallest building in the world.

At the time of its dedication, The Monument was the tallest structure in the world. The Washington Monument is 555 feet, 5-1/8 inches tall, although the obelisk that Mills initially imagined would be 600 feet tall. It was the world’s highest building when the outside was finished in 1884. It didn’t stay at the top for very long. When the Eiffel Tower debuted as the Paris World’s Fair’s entrance in 1889, it overtook it. 

Eiffel Tower

But the tallest obelisk and stone building in the world is still the Washington Monument. It is also worth noting that a building in Washington, DC, cannot be taller than the Washington Monument.

Also Read: Eiffel Tower Facts for Kids

The Washington Monument was finally opened to the public audience in 1888.

On October 9, 1888, the Washington Monument was made accessible to the public. Before the monument’s public opening, additional work had to be done after its dedication in 1885, including installing an elevator and finishing an iron stairway inside the monument that would allow visitors to the viewing deck. 

The managers of the Washington Monument introduced an elevator for visitors.

Visitors can ride an elevator inside the monument for 60 seconds to reach an observation platform at the top. They can walk more than 800 steps or return by elevator. More than 190 carved stones from different states, cities, people, and foreign nations are embedded in the monument’s walls. The monument was closed in 2011 to fix damage from an earthquake and reopened in 2014.

Even after the earthquake, the Washington Monument remained closed. 

Washington Monument Base

After the earthquake, the monument remained problematic, especially in January 2017 when the lights that illuminated it failed. Due to the elevator system’s unreliability, the monument was once more closed in September 2016. The National Park Service declared on December 2, 2016, that the monument would be closed until 2019 to update the elevator.  The monument had also been closed since August 17 due to the elevator’s persistent mechanical, electrical, and computer concerns. 


This political and Roman memorial stands tall even today with a viewpoint of all of Washington D.C and has significance across the globe beyond its existence. It grounds the mark of unforgettable personalities such as George Washington and Mills. The Washington Monument is a true masterpiece, a sight worthwhile to visit.

In this article, we have unveiled some interesting facts about the Washington Monument in an elaborated yet comprehensive way for kids, parents, and teachers. For more fun and cool facts, subscribe and visit our official website.

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