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Full text of "The history and development of the Washington Monument."

THE HISTORY AND CONSTRUCTION OF I] GHINGTON MONUMENT 







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H^^ T*^^v 







A thesis prepared as a requirement for initiation into 

TAU BETA PI 
Maryland Beta Chapter 
by 
IRVING PHILLIPS 



March la, 1959 



-i- 



SUMMARY 

In 18oo a body of influential citizens of the 
City of Washington determined to redeem the oft-repeated 
failure of Congress and to undertake the erection of a 
national monument in memory of the first President of our 
country. Accordingly, the Washington National Monument 
Society, a voluntary organization, was formed for the 
purpose of "erecting a great national monument to the 
memory of George Washington at the seat of the Federal 
Government". Chief Justice John Marshall was chosen as 
President and at his death in 1835, he was succeeded by 
ex-President James Madison. In 1836 steps were taken to 
inaugurate a national campaign to secure contributions 
and American artists were invited to enter into competi- 
tion with une another and submit designs for the monument. 
The design of Robert Mills, a well-known architect of the 
time, was selected, but the present monument has little in 
common with Mills • original elaborate plan. 

Having, by 1848, accumulated sufficient funds 
frum public canvassing to commence work, Congress was pe- 
titioned by the Society for permission to build. Congress 
authorized the Society to erect the monument and designated 
the President of the United States and the Board of Managers 
of the Society to select a suitable site. In 1783, the 
Continental Congress had authorized an equestrian statue 
of General Washington to be erected at the seat of Congress. 
The site for this statue, provided in the L 'Enfant Plan 
of 1791, was at the intersection of the meridian line 



-11- 



through the Executive Mansion and the ec.st-west line 
through the dome of the Capitol. Due to the .car shy con- 
dition of the ground at this location the site was moved 
a few hundred feet to the southeast. 

The cornerstone was laid in 1848 and worK pro- 
gressed steadily, though slowly, until 1855. During the 
last few y.ars of this period funds had ran to a low ebb 
and contributions of all natures were being solicited and 
encouraged. Memorial stones were being sent from States, 
cities, and societies in this country and also from for- 
eign nations to be used in the monument^ construction, 
Coxigress had been petitioned for aid but without result. 
In 1854, an act occurred which so outraged and angered 
the public that all manner of public support soon ceased, 
and with it construction o.* the monument, k stone, sent 
by the Pope at Rome, was stolen and never recovered. 
The shaft, at this time, had obtained a height of 153 feet 
above the floor. 

Work was resumed in 185y when the Society was 
incorporated by an Act of Congress for the purpose of com- 
pleting the erection of the monument. An officer oi the 
Engineer Corps was detailed as a superintendent of con- 
struction and the endeavor was again made to raise funds 
by means of public appeals. The advent oi the Civil War 
a i'e->! y-ars later again interfered with public interest in 
the worn; and the shaft was forced to remain as when aban- 
doned bacK in 1855. In 1873 Congress became interested 
in the lacK of progress in the construction of the aionu- 



-111- 



ment and at last, in 1876, approved an Act providing that 
the government assume the responsibility of the monument 's 
completion. The Act pruvidea that $ 200,000 be appropria- 
ted and supplementary appropriations be made annually 
until the erection was finished. The tas^v was placed in 
the hands of the Corps of Military Engineers and, after 
many difficulties, completed in December, 1884. 



-IV- 



StftCIARY OF STATISTICS CONCERNING THE WASHINGTON 

MONUMENT 



i**i 



Corner-stone laid .... 

Capstone set 

Dedicated 

Opened to public , 

Total cost , 

Height above floor 

Height of shaft 

Side of base of shaft 

Side of top of shaft 

Taper of walls of shaft 

Thickness of walls base of shaft 
Thic±cness of walls top of shaft 
ThicKness covering slabs, pyraiaidion 
Material used on face of shaft .... 

Depth of foundation 

Area foundation (126 ft. 6 in. sq.) 

Weight - foundations 

".'eight - shaft and pyramid ion .... 
Weight - Monument 
Max. pressure on underlying soil 
Pressure on edges of foundation 



- * « * 



* • a • 



i * * * 



* * • ■ 



Winder ; 

Number 

Height above ground 

Dimension (except east window) 
Dimension - cast window 



Eemorifcl stones (1952) 
Elevator 



July 4, 1848 
December 6, 1884 
February 81, 1885 
October 9, 1888 
$l,bOO,000 (approx.) 
555 feet, 5.135 inches 
500 feet, 5.125 inches 

55 feet, 1$ inches 
34 feet, 5| inches 
0.247 inch to 1 ft. 
15 feet 

18 inches 
7 inches 
White marble 

56 feet, 10 inches 
16,002 square feet 
36,iJ12 tons 

62 ,y; 3 tons 
81,120 tuns 
9 tuns/ sq. ft. 
£ tuns/ sq. ft. 



504 feet 

18 inches :■. 2 feet 

2 feet x 5 feet 



187 
Electric 



THE HISTORY AKD CONSTRUCTION OF Tf-F WASHINGTON MONUMENT 




"Taken "by itself, the Washington Monument stands 
not only as one of the most stupendous works of man, but 
also as one of the most beautiful of all human creations. 
Indeed, it is at onoe so great and so simple that it 
seems to be almost b work of nature." 



1 

INTRODUCTION TO THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT 


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• 

The Washington Monument as Seen Across the 


Tidal Basin 
• 



-1- 



The Washington National Monument has a history 
which is almost as old as that of our country, and the 
names of some of our greatest statesmen are connected 
with it. However, notwithstanding all its influential 
backing and support, almost every imaginable obstacle 
had to be overcome, including the securing of Congress- 
ional action, the raising of money by house-to-house 
canvass, the disproving of charges of corruption, the 
wading through a religious controversy and the solving 
of momentous engineering problems before the monument 
was finally completed and allowed to take its rightful 
place as one of the eight wonders of the world. 

On August 7, 1783, at the close of the Revolu- 
tionary War, the Continental Congress unanimously resolved 
( ten states being present ) i- 

"That an equestrian statue of General Washington be 
erected at the place where the residence of Congress 
shall be established in honor of George 7/ashington, 
the illustrious Commander-in-chief of the Armies of 
the United States of America during the war which 
vindicated and secured their liberty, sovereignty, 
and independence." 

In accordance with this resolution and under the 

immediate direction and subsequent approval of President 

Washington, L'Enfant, in 1791, provided a location for 

this statue in bis plan for the City of Washington. This 

site was also the site later selected for the monument to 

the heroes of the Revolution, which was proposed in 1795. 



-2- 



At Washington's death a joint committee of both 

Houses of Congress "was appointed tu consider a suitable 

oner of paying honor tu his memory. On December 24, 17S9, 

Congress passed a resolution, on the motion of John Marshall, 

which provided ;- 

"That a marble monument be erected by the United 
States at the city of Washington, and that the 
family of General Washington be requested to permit 
his body tu be deposited under it, and that the 
monument be su designed as tu commemorate the 
great events uf his military and political life." 

Although Mrs. Washington acceded to this request at the 
expense of her own personal desires as to the final rest- 
ing place of her husband, the resolution was not executed. 

The matter was brought up again in 1816 and 
later in 181b but no definite agreement was reached. At 
this time plans were under foot to recover Washington's 
body from Mount Vernon and to place it beneath the floor 
of the crypt under the dome of the capitol in a vault 
prepared solely for that purpose. This proposal was 
brought to the attention of Congress in 1824 by the Presi- 
dent and later in 1825 by John yuincy Adams, but still 
no action was tsKen. Even had Congress taken definite 
steps to put the last plan into effect it is extremely 
doubtful that it would have been successful for tentative 
apjjroachs made in its behalf to the surviving members of 
Washington's family met with stern disapproval. They re- 
fused to grant permission to exhume General Washin£,tun»s 
body. 

On the eighth of May, 1800, a select committee 
of the House of Representatives submitted resolutions 



-3- 



direeting that the resolution Ol Congress of 1783 and 
that of 1799 he executed. That part referring to the 
resolution of 1783 was amended to require a mausoleum 
for George Washington to he erected instead, and for 
this purpose, later, a bill passed the House of Repres- 
entatives, January 1, 1801, appropriating $200,000 but 
this time the Senate did not concur. 

Finally, in 1833, the first definite and con- 
crete steps taken in the behalf of a Washington memor- ^ 
ial were made by a group of private citizens of Wash- 
ington who were determined to persevere until their 
dreams were realized and the Washington Monument an 

actuality. Through their efforts, a society was formed 
and known as the Washington National Monument Society. 
Though their enthusiasm was high, the Society realized 
early that they were faced with many serious problems . 
They had no money with which to begin the construction 
of the monument; they had no site on which to build the 
monument; they hadn't even a single plan for the monu- 
ment they so fervently wished to construct. Under the 
leadership of Chief Justice John Marshall and, after 
his death, ex-President James Madison, steps were taken 
immediately to inaugurate a national campaign to secure 
contributions . Contributions were at first limited to 
not more than one dollar from any individual and socie- 
ties were not allowed to contribute as a group. How- 
ever, in a short while appeals were being sent around 
for contributions of any nature and of any amount. 



-4- 



A type of appeal sent to the many Masonic Lodges is as 

follows s- 

"Worshipful Brother: 

An appeal in the name and memory of Washing- 
ton is made to our Order for aid toward the com- 
pletion of the Monument to his Fame. The object 
requires no words of commendation to Masons, for 
Washington was Chief among them. About 3000 of 
the more prosperous Lodges will be appealed to, 
and a majority of them will, doubtless, respond. 
The sum of $100.00 is solicited of each, thus en- 
titling them to record in the archives of the 
Society. 

JT.B. All contributions should be sent to John C. 
Brent, Secretary of the Society, Wash., D.C 

Fraternally, 

Jno. s. Benson 

4 

The Society next, in 1836, invited designs to 
be submitted by American artists/for a monument to cost 
approximately $1,000,000.00. The competition was won by 
a well-known architect of the time, Robert Mills. By 
1848 the Society felt that it had sufficient funds with 
which to commence building and so they petitioned Congress 
for permission to erect a fitting monument to perpetuate 
the fame and memory of George Washington. In January of 
the same year, Congress granted them the requested per- 
mission and appointed a group comprised of the President 
of the United States and the Board of Managers of the 
Society to select the site for the proposed monument. 
The site provided in the original map of the city by 
L 'Enfant for the equestrian statue of Washington and 



-ob- 



late r for the statue to the heroes of the Revolution was 
finally hit upon. On July 4, 1848, the corner stone was 
laid amid great ceremonies. The Society had, by this 
time, raised through contributions approximately $88,000* 
Actual work on the monument had at last begun. 



-6- 



DESIGN OF THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT 



t 




The original design of the monument submitted by 

Robert Mills. 



-7- 



The Washington Monument, as we know it today, 
has little in common with the design of its originator, 
Robert Mills. Mills 1 elaborate ^lan was comprised of 
a vast stylobate, surmounted ^oy a tetrastyle pantheon, 
circular in form, and with an obelisk 600 feet high 
rising from the center. The original design called for 
the entire height of the shaft to be Egyptian decorated 
and to be of 700 feet. This 700 feet was to be mounted 
on the conic Babylonian base and the whole surrounded 
by the circular Greek temple. This temple was to be 
100 feet high and 250 feet in diameter. It was to act 
as an American pantheon, a repository for statues of 
Presidents and national heroes . Above the east doorway 
there was to be a 30 foot figure of General Washington, 
clad in a Roman toga, sitting in a Greek chariot drawn 
by Arabian steeds driven by an Etruscan winged Victory. 
Fortunately, the type of base and the pantheonic features 
of this design were never adopted. The beauty of the 
Washington Monument lies in its simplicity and regal 
strength - emblematic of the character of the man to 
whose memory it is dedicated. All of the designs sub- 
mitted during the competition had the obelisk or shaft 
in common suggesting that the Society must have request- 
ed just such a feature be included in all designs. 



-8- 



SITE OF THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT 



° if OH 2 ° 3 - - ° c 





2j "' ■->- 



— - 5 



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General Plan for the Development of the Central Axis 

of the Mall, Wash., D.C. 



The L'Enfant plan for the city of Washington was 
followed in so far as the street plan, the location of 
the Capitol building and the White House were concerned, 
hut other plans for the grouping of government buildings 
has been neglected. 



-9- 



The site for the equestrian statue of Washington 
provided in the L 1 Enfant plan was at the intersection of 
the meridian line through the Executive Mansion and the 
east and west line through the dome of the Capitol. 
However, the Mall had not, as yet, "been developed as 
proposed and planned by L 'Enfant and in 1848 this location 
was still marsh land and so the site was moved to a higher 
level a few hundred feet from the intersection. The Monu- 
ment stands close to the intersection of the Jeffersonian 
meridian line of 1802, passing through the center of the 
Executive Mansion, north and south, with a line running 
due east and west through the center of the Capitol build- 
ing. It is located adjacent to the Potomac River, on a 
government plot comprising 78^- acres and being public 
property. The grounds around the monument have been kept 
clear of any other buildings and, consequently, the view 
of the entire shaft will never be obstructed. The ele- 
vation of the ground on which the monument stands is 
26 feet above low tide-water in the Potomac River. 



-10- 



CONSTRUCTION OF THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT 



TIE FOUNDATION 



^IH—HIIJJ 1 ' 't 




Original Rubble-Stone Foundation 




Removing old Rubble for Underpinning 



-11- 




Underp inning Ha If -completed 




■•t/'s'y 



S&gi- 



Section of Completed Foundation 



-12- 



[U ■ 




The Monument in 1879 




Underpinning Completed. 
June 7, 1880. 



-13- 



In 1859, after it had passed an Act incorpora- 
ting the Washington National Monument Society, Congress 
complied with the request of the Society and detailed 
an engineering officer to supervise the construction of 
the monument. The officer was Lieutenant J. C Ives, 
Corps of Topographical Engineers. Lieutenant Ives, 
though, devoted his time chiefly to attempting to raise 
funds for the monument's completion and was relieved in 
September, I860. In the early seventies Congress really 
became interested in the progress of the monument and 
detailed another of the engineers to make an examination 
and render a report to an appointed committee from the 
House and the Society. In May, 1874, Lieutenant W. L» 
Marshall, Corps of Engineers, later Chief of Engineers, 
submitted a report in which he recommended that the 
height of the shaft be reduced from 600 feet to 500 
feet, due to the fact that the area covered by the 
foundation was insufficient to carry the load without 
causing excessive pressures on the soil. 

T .Vhen, in August, 1876, an Act passed putting 
the completion of the monument into the hands of the 
government, President Grant commissioned a board of 
officers from the Engineering Corps to investigate and 
report on the sufficiency of the foundation as it then 
existed. This board, under the direction of Lt. Col. 
Thomas L- Casey, reported that the foundations were 
inadequate . Acting on the report the first work under- 



-14- 



taken was the underpinning of the present foundation. 

The strata were found to be very compact and, 
at a depth of 20 feet, a solid bed of gravel 6 feet deep 
was encountered . The original foundation was of blue 
gneiss rock, in large blocks, as they came froi the 
quarry, laid in lime mortar with a small portion of 
cement. It was F.O feet square at the base, covering an 
area of 6,400 square feet, pyramidal in shape, having 
offsets or steps and extended 7 feet 8 inches below 
ground and 15 feet 8 inches above ground. The blocks 
weighed from 6 to 8 tons. The mortar used was made of 
hydraulic cement, stone, lime and sand. The base of the 
monument is 55 feet l*jr inches square, and the walls at 
this point are 15 feet thick. The present foundation is 
126 feet 6 inches square, covering an area of 16,002 
square feet. It is 36 feet 10 inches in depth and extends 
down to a level 6 inches below the permanent level of 
water in the site on which the monument is located. 

When work was undertaken by Lt. Casey, he first 
decided to enlarge the old foundations by building a new 
concrete sub- foundation in under the old and to distribute 
the weight of the shaft on the new foundation by a system 
of underpinning. This work consisted in digging away 70% 
of the earth under the old foundation to a depth of 13 feet 
6 inches beneath it, and replacing this earth with a mass 
of concrete extending 18 feet within the outer edges of 
the old foundation and 23 feet 3 inches without the same 



-15- 



line. This was done by making two cuts on opposite sides 
of the monument, uncovering 144 square feet of bearing 
surface from beneath the old foundation. But this gave 
such a rapid settlement to the structure that after* pouring 
the concrete in these first cuts, only one cut, exposing 
72 square feet of bearing surface, was undertaken at one 
time. 

To distribute the pressure of the shaft over 
this new foundation the old rubble stone base was torn 
from under the walls of the shaft and replaced by a con- 
crete underpinning extending out on to the new concrete 
slab. In the construction of this continuous buttress 
51% of the cubical contents of the old foundation was 
removed and 48% of the area of the shaft undermined. 
The material employed in this work was Portland cement - 
mixture of one part cement, 2 parts sand, 3 parts pebbles, 
and 4 parts broken stone. This second step corrected a 
slight leaning of the shaft to the northwest caused by a 
variance in the settling of the corners. 

The new foundation rests on a thick wedge of 
sand and gravel, varying from 10 feet to 30 feet in thick- 
ness. Under it lies a thick wedge of blue clay varying 
from 50 feet to 30 feet, all of which rests on bed rock 
at a distance of 60 feet below the bottom of the founda- 
tion. Bed rock is on a slight slope to the west. 

This entire job was done without causing the 
slightest crack or the least opening in any part of the 



-16- 



monument already constructed. At that time, including 
the base, the monument stood at ISO feet in height. An 
8 inch block, moulded on June 25, 1879, and tested on 
October 17, 187."-, showed first crack at pressure of 
105,000 pounds; the maximum pressure fracturing it was 
122,000 pounds, or 1,906.25 pounds per square inch* 
It must be acknowledged that this was an engineering 
feat in itself. 



-17- 



CQKSTRUCTIOH 0? TKS SHAFT OF THE Y/ASriKGTQK MCMUMBNT 




Stone Setting Machinery 



View of the Phoenix- column framework, 324- foot 
elevation, with cranes attached to outer columns. 
The Phoenix- columns support the elevator and the 
stairway in the completed monument. Oct- 1, 1880 < 



-18- 



At the time the government took over* the con- 
struction of -the monument George P. Marsh, U. S. Minister 
to Italy! began his research on the traditional propor- 
tions of obelisks. His report showed :- 

"A naked shaft, with or without inscriptions, the 
height of which is ten times the width of its 
base, faces of shaft slightly convexed. The 
dimensions of the shaft should be reduced as it 
rises, the top of the shaft varying from two- 
thirds to three-quarters of the linear measure- 
ment of the base . 

A pyramidion or apex, the base of which is the 
same dimension as the summit of the shaft and 
unites with it directly without any ledge, molding, 
etc. The height of the pyramidion should be equal 
to the length of a side of the base of the shaft, 
and is, therefore, greater than the side of its 
own base." 

This showed that Mills' proportions were at variance with 

these formalized dimensions and, when the work on the 

shaft was resumed in 18S0 Marsh's studies were used to 

make the monument conform. It was impossible, however, 

to make the faces convex as they had been started as 

planes. Still, it is remarkable that, with the building 

partially constructed, the engineers were able to alter 

the proportions and yet retain the architectural unity 

of the structure. The proposed height was reduced to 

555 feet 5 and one- eighth inches or 10 times the base 

line . The squat cap of Mills ' plan was replaced by a 

steeply inclined pyramidion of acceptable design. If the 

shaft had been permitted to come to a point the point 

would have been reached at a height 2 and two- thirds 

times its present altitude. 



-19- 



WALLS - INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR - OF THE WASHINGTON 

MONUMENT 




Development of the Mall and Washington Monument Grounds 
as Proposed in 1901 • 



-20- 



The exterior blocks of marble are laid in 
2 foot courses of regular ashlar, or squared stone, back- 
ed by rubble masonry, up to the 150 foot level where the 
government engineers began their work. They substituted 
for the rubble backing a solid wall of New England gran- 
ite, which is carried to the 452 foot level where through- 
and- through blocks of marble begin. This marble is fine 
grained and durable and weighs 178^- pounds to the cubic 
foot. The first thirteen courses that the engineers laid, 
26 feet, were faced with white marble that came from 
quarries in Massachusetts. They used this marble because 
they were unable for a time to obtain the Maryland marble 
used at the start. The new Maryland marble with which the 
remainder of the monument is faced, although from the same 
vein as the original stone used for the lower portion, is 
from a slightly different section of that vein and has 
weathered to a slightly diff ernt tone . This explains the 
"ring" or "high-water mark" sometimes noticed on the shaft 
of the monument. 

The masonry constructed by the government is the 
best that is known to the engineering art, and the weight 
is so well distributed that even if subjected to a wind 
pressure of 100 pounds per square foot on any face - corres- 
ponding to a wind velocity of lt5 miles per hour - the 
monument would have a large factor of safety against over- 
turning . 



-21- 



Tig', PYHA.MIDION OF T T1 E WASHINGTON MONUMENT 





Setting the Capstone, Dec. 6, 1884, 



-22- 



The pyramid ion is of marble, 55 feet in verti- 
cal height; of 262 separate pieces of stone, containing 
3,764 cubic feet of dressed stock. The covering slabs 
are but 7 inches in thickness and rest upon projections 
or spurs upon the marble ribs . These ribs are 12 in 
number, three on each side of the well, springing from 
the interior face of the walls at the height of 470 feet. 
They are then carried upward until the ribs nearest the 
angles of the shaft meet in the hips of the pyramid ion, 
while those in the center of each face are connected 
still higher up by voussoir stones, forming two arches 
intersecting each other at right angles. The trust of 
a corner rib is transmitted to its opposite by the use 
of horizontal stones between their upper extremities. 
The keystone of the center ribs is at a height of 529 
feet. 

The cap-stone weighed 3,300 pounds and was 
crowned by a small right pyramid of pure aluminum 5.6 
inches at its base and 8.9 inches high, weighing 100 
ounces and being the largest piece of this metal ever 
cast anywhere up to that time . The aluminum is surr- 
ounded by 144 platinum tipped lightning conductors. 
It is inscribed on all four sides - north, the names 
of the members of the commission which completed the 
construction; west, important dates in the history of 
the monument itself; south, the names of the technical 
staff; and east, the phrase, "Laus Deo", meaning, 



-23- 



"Praise to God". The entire weight of the pyramidion 
is 300 tons . 



-24- 



THE ASCENT - STAIRWAY AND ELEVATOR - TO TEE TOP O? 
THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT 




The Washington Monument as seen from 
Arlington, Va. 



-25- 



The ascent to the top of the monument may be 
made either by means of an iron stairway or by means 
of an elevator. The elevator is supported by a constrac- 
aetion of eight vertical Phoenix iron columns - four 
6-g- and four 5^- inches internal diameter - I beams, 
channels and ties. The four columns terminate at the 
height of 500 feet and four within the roof at 517 feet. 
These latter four sustain the elevator machinery above. 
The eight columns are arranged in concentric squares- 
The elevator was originally steam but is now electri- 
cally powered. The first elevator, or steam hoist, 
was used only until 1900, when the first electric ele- 
vator, requiring five minutes for the ascent, was in- 
stalled. This latter was condemned in 1922 and replaced 
in 1927 by the new electric elevator which now makes the 
ascent in 1^- minutes operating on a five minute schedule . 
The elevator is hoisted by steel cables around 2 inches 
thick. There is room for thirty people in the elevator 
and its capacity is 10 tons, with a safety factor of 15. 

The stairway consists of alternate, short 
flights strung along the north and south sides of the 
wall, connecting with platforms 4 feet 8 inches wide to 
a height of 150 feet and 7 feet 10 and three- fourths 
inches wide. The flights extend along the east and west 
walls there being 50 flights and 898 steps . 

The rating of the electric dynamo used in 
running the elevator is as follows:- 



-26- 



50 kw . - 250 volts • 
Engine - double worm 



Speed of elevator - 100 feet per minute 
Engine governor throws off current at 105 

feet per minute* 
Car safety stops car at 150 feet/rain, speed 
Elevator is tested at 6 tons* 



-27- 






IKTEK3STICTG DSIMIS Aim ROMANTIC FEATURES OF TECE 
WASHINGTON MONUMENT 




The Washington Monument taken with Telephone Lens 
from the Slopes of Arlington, Va. 



• 



-28- 



On the night of February 21, 1855, the Wash- 
ington Monument was "stolen". A new anti- foreign, anti- 
Catholic political organization called the American 
Party and known as the "Know Nothings" , broke into the 
offices of the Washington National Monument Society 
and seized its records and books* They then held an 
"election" to oust the former owners and voted their 
own members into office . After two years the party fell 
into disrepute and collapsed. The monument was then re- 
turned to the official society. 

It was this same group that is believed to have 
been the cause of the disappearance of the "Pope's Stone". 
When the Society was waging its last efforts towards the 
completion of the monument blocks of marble were being 
received from all parts of the country and from some for- 
eign nations. All the states in the country sent a block 
of stone, and also many cities and societies, to be set in 
the interior. A block was sent from the Free Statesof 
Bremen, Japan, China, Turkey, and Greece. The block sent 
by Turkey was of white marble, highly polished, and very 
ornamental. It is interesting to note that the block 
sent by Greece was a white marble taken from the ruins of 
the Parthenon. One of the stones sent was a block of 
African marble taken from the Temple of Concord at Rome, 
and was the gift of Pope Pius IX. It bore the inscrip- 
tion, "Rome to America". The American, or "Know Nothing", 
Party protested this "Papist" gift and, when their com- 



-29- 



plaints were disregarded, they resorted to violence. 
At night, March 5, 1854, a band of masked men over- 
powered the night watchman at the monument, broke into 
the lapidarium where the memorial blocks were kept, and 
stole the disputed block of marble. It is believed they 
then smashed and threw it into the Potomac "River. At 
any rate, although a reward was offered for its return, 
it was never recovered. This act caused the work of the 
Society to come to an abrupt and enforced end. The pub- 
lic was greatly enraged and indignant. 

The incidents already mentioned are truly 
amazing, yet there are other intriguing curiosities 
about the monument. It is built, "upside down and in- 
side out"; it "breathes"; it has "tuberculosis"; and it 
produces its own "rain". 

In 1911, Mr. G. P. Merrill, head curator of 
geology at the National Museum, made the first above- 
mentioned charge, sayings - 

"The very best and most enduring material lies in 
the inner courses of the upper portion - which 
bears the least strain. The poorest and weakest 
material is compressed in the outer portion of the 
first 190 feet, which has to bear the weight of 
the rest - and receives the wash from all the rain 
that falls on the portion above." 

Representatives of the U. S. Army Corps of 
Engineers reported that it had a regular pulsation, popu- 
larly described as "breathing", and a lateral contraction 
and expansion which necessitated the use of channel irons 
to support the stairway. This is a natural phenomenon, 
however, and in no way endangers the monument. 



-30- 



Exudations of the rubble masonry through inter- 
stices in the stone gave rise to the facetious claim that 
the monument suffered from "geological tuberculosis" . The 
disintegration has been stopped by drilling through the 
inner walls ani forcing in new cement under hydraulic 
pressure. 

Because of the relatively slow response of the 
walls to outside temperature changes, a sudden warm spell 
following cold will cause a condensation of moisture in 
the air within the shaft until actual precipitation occurs. 
This "rain" sometimes necessitates overshoes and raincoats 
inside while the sun may be shining brightly without. 

There is enough room in the interior of the 
monument to house an army of approximately 12,000 men. 
7,675 on the landings*, 3,845 on the stairs; 450 on the 
upper and lower platforms, and 30 in the elevator would 
fill the monument to capacity. 



-31- 



Senator Sherman: - 

"The monument speaks for itself, - simple in 
form, admirable in proportions, composed of enduring 
marble and granite, resting upon foundations broad 
and deep, it rises to the skies higher than any work 
of human art. It is the most imposing, costly, and 
appropriate monument ever erected in the honor of 
one man." 



-32- 




The Monument Seen From the Reflecting Pool of the 

Lincoln Memorial. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

1. Washington, City and Capital;- American Guide Series, 
1937; Wash., D.C 

2. Washington, City and Capital:- U.S. Printing Office, 
1935; Wash., D.C 

3. Foundation of the Washington Monument:- U.S. Joint 
Commission, 1877; Wash., D.C 

4. The Washington Monument:- Ina Cap i tola Emery, 1913; 
Wash., D.C 

5. The Washington Monument:- Society of American Mili- 
tary Engineers, 1923; Wash., D.C 

6. The Washington National Monument:- Monument Society, 
1871; Wash., D.C. 

7. Monograph of the Washington National Monument- 

8. The Washington Monument:- Rudolph de Zapp 

9. Mr. Clime, Superintendent of the Washington Monument.