Have you ever seen the Washington Monument in person?
Have you ever gone up to the top?
Did you know it has an elevator inside?
I didn’t until I rode up it.
And it was on that ride up, way back in 1997, that I first learned this fact:
Construction started back in 1848, but funding ran out by 1854.
Marble is expensive, ya’ll.
And I’m sure the Civil War didn’t help matters much.
So for a pretty decent chunk of time, the Washington Monument looked like this:
It just sat there for 25 years, while America attempted to sort out the whole slavery thing.
And then there was Reconstruction.
The US had some shit to deal with. They didn’t have time to build an obelisk.
So it kind of became a cattle yard:
But they got back to building eventually, with the government taking over the project, in 1879.
But by that time, they couldn’t find the exact marble to match.
You can see the two tones in the finished Monument in this photo from the day it was dedicated in 1889:
In fact, there’s actually a third tone, a bit of a stripe in the middle that divides the two main construction phases.
Feels like you can see it here, though it might just be the contrast:
Most people never notice.
Of course, now you’ll never not notice it:
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