Washington Monument in scaffolding, viewed from the Lincoln Memorial
The Washington Monument, a stone obelisk erected to commemorate President George Washington, was closed for an indefinite period following a 5.8 magnitude earthquake on August 23, 2011. The closure stemmed from extensive damage sustained during the earthquake to the stone that forms the monument. This included a dislodged block in the pyramidion, cracking near the top, and numerous smaller instances of stone damage on the exterior and interior of the structure.
Following detailed inspections of the structure and funding of a repair plan, including a $7.5 contribution from local philanthropist David Rubenstein towards the estimated $15 million cost for repairs, work to repair the structure began in early 2013, as the structure was encased in scaffolding for the third time in its history. Preparations for the scaffolding were underway by February, the scaffolding had reached a third of the way up by late March, and was topped out by May. A lighting system for the scaffolding went live in July. The lighting was discontinued after the night of November 3, and the removal of the scaffolding began the following week, in a process that would take several months to complete.