Melania Trump cuts ribbon on reopened Washington Monument

22 Septembre, 2019, 07:10 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Clouds roll over the Washington Monument as seen from the foot of the monument during a press preview tour ahead of its official reopening Wednesday Sept. 18 2019 in Washington. The monument which has been closed to the public since August 2016

After a three-year closure, the Washington Monument is reopening for the public.

The 555-foot stone obelisk closed in September 2016 to replace the aging elevator and upgrade security systems.

She then took a ceremonial "first ride" up to the top on the newly modernized elevator inside the structure, part of the $15 million restoration project.

It opened in 1886 to honor George Washington, but age and a 2011 quake took a toll, leaving cracks and other damage to the landmark. It was then reopened in 2014 however closed again in 2016 due to constant malfunctions of elevators.

The monument was closed for most of the last eight years because of natural disaster damage and extensive elevator repairs. "So we really didn't want to close it".

The structure, which cost $12 million in National Park Service appropriations, has air conditioning and heating, is roomier and requires fewer police staff, said Brian Hall, a public affairs officer for the park service.

The new facility juts like a grey cube from the base of the marble obelisk.

To enter the monument, visitors will go through two vault-like doors and a security checkpoint.

National Parks Service park rangers gather outside a new security screening building at the foot of the Washington Monument during a preview tour ahead of the monument's official reopening Wednesday Sept. 18 2019 in Washington. The monument which has

Mr. Litterst said he expects a big crowd at the reopening, noting that people lined up at 4 a.m. when the monument reopened in 2014 following repairs due to a 2011 quake. "We have missed having our public visiting us".

After such a long closure, anticipation is high among both staffers and visitors.

First Lady Melania Trump is expected to attend Thursday's reopening, Xinhua news agency reported.

"We'll keep ramping (the number of visitors) up as we get used to the facility", Reinbold said. For now, tickets must be purchased in person; Reinbold said they would soon begin offering about half of any given day's tickets online.

It took 40 years to construct, with a delay for the Civil War.

The monument, which was completed in 1884 and remains the tallest building in Washington, normally averages about 500,000 visitors per year.

Construction resumed in 1879 but the constructors were forced to use stone from a different mine which gave the monument its unique two-tone color.

When the obelisk was first completed, it was the tallest building in the world.

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