Protestations, celebrations, renovations: The Washington Monument in pictures

September 18, 2019

The top of the Washington Monument and part of a U.S. flag are reflected in the sunglasses of Austin Clinton Brown, 9, of Gainesville, Ga., as he poses at the Capitol where he joins others in the March on Washington, Aug. 28, 1963. (AP Photo)

The Washington Monument, which reopens Thursday, has seen a lot since it opened in 1888.

It’s been the site of historic protests, inauguration crowds and Fourth of July spectaculars — and this was hardly the first time it was closed for repairs.

See photos taken in three different centuries, all with one 555-foot thing in common.

A trio of images of the early days of the Washington Monument. The National Park Service said it was built in two phases: “one private (1848-1854) and one public (1876-1884).”

There are many commemorative stones inside the Washington Monument. This one is D.C.’s.

Rhode Island’s stone is pretty elaborate.

This is hardly the first time the Washington Monument has been closed for repairs. The earthquake in 2011 did a number on the obelisk.

You’d be forgiven for thinking this photo was taken after the earthquake, but it’s from a 1999 restoration.

The Bonus Army was a group of World War I veterans hit hard by the Great Depression who needed to cash in their service certificates, similar to savings bonds, that couldn’t be cashed until 1945. They were driven out by the U.S. Army, led in this “mission” by Douglas MacArthur.

Many pictures have been taken from the top of the Washington Monument, too. This one, taken in 1944, shows how many “tempos” — temporary government buildings — were on the National Mall during World War II.

Putting together the Marine Corps War Memorial was no small job.

Some of the most iconic images of the civil rights movement were taken in the shadow of the Washington Monument.

Political statements of all kinds have been made around the monument, including from civil rights leaders, American Nazi Party members, segregationists, anti-abortion activists, pro-abortion activists, people against World Bank and IMF policies, and so much more.

Periodic AIDS quilts have made for moving visuals.

It used to be much easier to get close to the Washington Monument — maybe too close.

From snow to the cherry blossoms, the monument has long served as a distinctive backdrop for D.C. weather pictures.

It’s a go-to backdrop for government shutdowns, too.

At the right angle, the monument is reflected in the Vietnam War Memorial. This can lead to some nice shots.

It’s an iconic part of any Fourth of July celebration in D.C.

The monument is also an important part of presidential inaugurations, including George W. Bush …

… Barack Obama …

… and Donald Trump.

A massive protest led by women marked the day after Trump’s inauguration, as well as the first anniversary.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2019 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up