The monument opened after a three-year renovation due to elevator malfunctions. In fact the Washington Monument had been closed for most of the past eight years.”We apologize to our visitors who were inconvenienced. Normal operations have resumed and tours are running on schedule,” the administration said after the incident. Construction on the monument began in 1848 and took nearly 40 years to complete because the project ran out of funding and construction was halted in 1854. At the time of its completion, it was the tallest building in the world, but was soon overtaken by the Eiffel Tower in 1889.
It was built to commemorate George Washington, once commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the first President of the United States. The monument is made of marble, granite and bluestone gneiss. It is the tallest monumental column in the world if all are measured above their pedestrian entrances. The interior is occupied by iron stairs that spiral up the walls, with an elevator in the center. Fifty American flags fly 24 hours a day on a large circle of flag poles centered on the monument.