Washington Monument

An American Symbol

Built to honor and memorialize George Washington, the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the first President of the United States, the Washington Monument is one of the nation’s most recognizable structures. The 555-foot marble obelisk was the tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1884. It remains the world’s tallest free-standing stone structure and is a defining feature of the Washington, DC skyline.

A National Treasure Restored

In August 2011, the Washington Monument was forced to close after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Washington, DC. The quake caused significant damage, including more than 150 cracks, spalls and displacements of stones and joints throughout the structure.

Mr. Rubenstein contributed half of the funds needed for repairing the monument, and Congress allocated the other half. The donation, which was made to the Trust for the National Mall, was the largest individual gift in the trust’s history. The restoration work began in late 2012, and the Washington Monument reopened on May 12, 2014, serving as a model for other successful public-private partnerships with the federal government.

“The Washington Monument has become a beacon for freedom and a symbol of our country.”

—DAVID RUBENSTEIN

The 500 tons of scaffolding encasing the Washington Monument were illuminated with 488 glowing lamps. Mr. Rubenstein flipped the switch at the lighting ceremony on July 8, 2013, alongside Jonathan Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service, and Caroline Cunningham, President of the Trust for the National Mall.

The Earthquake

At 1:51 p.m. on August 23, 2011, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck 90 miles southwest of Washington, DC. Visitors inside the Washington Monument's observation deck were showered with falling mortar and pieces of stone, though all were able to exit safely. Damage occurred throughout the metropolitan Washington area, but the Washington Monument was among the significantly damaged structures.

Assessing the Aftermath

Assessments of the building revealed cracks, spalls and displacements of stones and joints throughout the building. Using centuries-old stone masonry techniques and modern engineering science, the National Park Service and the Difficult Access Team from Wiss, Janey, Elstner, Inc. assessed the damage to this one of a kind structure and planned for a precarious repair.

The Repair Plan

The repair work that followed ensured that all have the opportunity to ascend to the observation deck and to stand outside the shining obelisk and look up in wonder and amazement admiring the greatness of both the monument and the man whose memory it represents.

The 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck in August 2011 caused more than 150 cracks, spalls and displacements of stones and joints throughout the structure.

The Washington Monument is constructed of more than 36,000 stones. Steel beams support the elevator shaft, but the structural elements of the monument are entirely stone.

“The storms of winter must blow and beat upon it ... the lightnings of Heaven may scar and blacken it. An earthquake may shake its foundations ... but the character which it commemorates and illustrates is secure.”

From a speech by Robert Winthrop, a lawyer, philanthropist and one-time Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, read at the dedication of the Washington Monument in 1885

PHILANTHROPY

SPEECHES / INTERVIEWS / NEWS

ABOUT DAVID M. RUBENSTEIN

THE CARLYLE GROUP

CONTACT

©2017 DavidRubenstein.com LLC    All Rights Reserved

Site design by FCI Creative

An American Symbol

Built to honor and memorialize George Washington, the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the first President of the United States, the Washington Monument is one of the nation’s most recognizable structures. The 555-foot marble obelisk was the tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1884. It remains the world’s tallest free-standing stone structure and is a defining feature of the Washington, DC skyline.

A National Treasure Restored

In August 2011, the Washington Monument was forced to close after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Washington, DC. The quake caused significant damage, including more than 150 cracks, spalls and displacements of stones and joints throughout the structure.

Mr. Rubenstein contributed half of the funds needed for repairing the monument, and Congress allocated the other half. The donation, which was made to the Trust for the National Mall, was the largest individual gift in the trust’s history. The restoration work began in late 2012, and the Washington Monument reopened on May 12, 2014, serving as a model for other successful public-private partnerships with the federal government.