Washington Monument Renovation – Washington DC

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The Washington Monument, one of the most beloved memorials in the country, was completely renovated during the New Deal. No repair work had been done since the monument was finished in 1884 and the exterior had cracked and spalled, resulting in leaching of mortar and leaking through the walls.

The Public Works Administration (PWA) provided a grant for the work in 1934. Soon, a tubular steel scaffold was erected, which completely covered the shaft of the monument. Workers repointed, repaired and cleaned the entire shaft from top to bottom. The work was completed in February 1935. The cleaning, pointing, and repair work cost $19,042, the scaffolding cost $67,333, for a total project cost of $86,375.

The Washington Monument was designed by Robert Mills as an Egyptian obelisk, a style much in vogue in the first half of the 19th century.  Construction began in 1848, with funds provided by popular subscription.  It had reached a height of 150 feet by 1854, when the money ran out.  After the Civil War, Congress appropriated funds for its completion and work was resumed in 1878 under the direction of the Army Corps of Engineers. The monument was finally completed in 1884.  It is built of granite with an exterior cladding of white marble. 

Project Details

Federal Cost Local Cost Total Cost Project #'s
86375 86375

Source notes

Short, C. W. and R. Stanley-Brown, 1939.  Public Buildings: A Survey of Architecture of Projects Constructed by Federal and Other Governmental Bodies Between the Years 1933 and 1939 with the Assistance of the Public Works Administration.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

“District gets $325,000 fund for building,” Washington Post, September 8, 1933, p. 22

Project originally submitted by Shaina Potts on December 5, 2011.
Additional contributions by Brent McKee, Richard A Walker.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

National Mall at 15th Street
Washington, DC 20001

Coordinates: 38.8898, -77.0352

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