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The Washington Monument – 1850

Sketch of the proposed Washington Monument by architect Robert Mills circa 1836.
Sketch of the proposed Washington Monument by architect Robert Mills circa 1836.

Freeman’s Journal 21st November, 1850 p3

The Washington Monument.
This grand memorial originated as follows.
In 1783 Congress resolved to erect an equestrian statue to Washington.  In 1804, after his death, the subject was again broached, but nothing was done.  In 1833 the Washington National Monument Society was organized with Chief Justice Marshall at its head, and measures were taken to collect the necessary funds.
During seven years, however, only 30,000 dollars were obtained, and still nothing was done. In 1847 new measures were taken, new men and leaders arose: the collection reached 80,000 dollars, and the corner-stone was laid on the 4th July, 1848.

The idea is an obelisk 55 feet square at the base, and 600 feet high.  This will exceed in height any steeple or monument in the world.  From a thickness of 15 feet the wall diminishes to 30 inches leaving an open space of 25 feet square.  The top is to be reached by flights of iron steps at the four sides; and the hand rail, being hollow, will serve as a conductor of gas, so that the whole of this prodigious cavern will be rendered as light as day.
The work is rapidly progressing, and the funds are coming in steadily.  Agents are canvassing the country in every direction.  No country has ever presented a similar spectacle when all classes so unceasingly united to do honour to one man.  It will be truly a national work and worthy of the American people. — Illustrated News.



B.A., M.A.(Archaeology); Regional Tour Guide; Dip. Radio Media Tech; H.Dip. Computer Science.

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