Inauguration of the Washington Monument

October 9, 1888, marked the official inauguration and opening of this monument to the public. An original steam elevator took fifteen minutes to reach the top, whereas the present electric one reaches the summit in a mere seventy seconds. A panoramic view of the city can be enjoyed at this elevation in height, with maps and sketches outlining each segment of the capital. Pierre Charles l’Enfant’s original plan in operation is thus clearly seen. From this vantage point, a perfect cross can be traced over the Capital City, with the White House to the north; the Jefferson Memorial to the south; the Capitol to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the west.

Memorial Stones of the Washington Monument1

There are eight hundred and ninety-eight steps and fifty landings within the Washington Monument. Of the one hundred and ninety memorial stones inserted within its inner staircase walls, numerous glorify God in word and deed; many others extolling George Washington, the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution:2 These have, most unfortunately, been barred from public access since the early 1980’s by the Department of Interior, National Park Service – to the detriment of millions of American U.S. History students – lovers of their original history:

On the First Landing (30 feet high), is inscribed:

Stone no. 5:
Delaware. First to adopt, will be the last to desert the Constitution.

 
The Second Landing (40 feet high) bears these words:

Stone no. 7:
Presented by the Columbia Typographical Society, Instituted January, 1815, “As a memento of the veneration of its member for the father of his country.”
Stone no. 8:
Association of Journeymen Stone cutters of Philadelphia. July 9th, 1850. “United we Stand.”
Stone no. 10:
Alabama. A Union of Equality as adjusted by the Constitution.
Stone no. 11:
The State of Louisiana. Ever faithful to the Constitution and the Union.

 

The Third Landing (50 feet high):

Stone no. 17:
State of Georgia. The Union as it was. The Constitution as it is.
Stone no. 18:
Indiana knows no North, no South, nothing but the Union.

 
The Fifth Landing (70 feet high):

Stone no. 25:
Presented by the Grand Division, Sons of Temperance, State of Virginia. 1850. Hand in Hand Union.
Stone no. 26:
“God and our Native Land.” United Sons of America. Instituted, 1845. Pennsylvania. “Usque ad Mortem” “Lente Caute Firme.”
Stone no. 27:
Grand Division, Sons of Temperance, North Carolina. “Love, Purity, Fidelity.”

 
The Sixth Landing (80 feet high):

Stone no. 34:
Maryland. The Memorial of Her Regard for the Father of His Country and of her Cordial, Habitual and Immovable attachment to the American Union. “Crescite et Multiplicamini.”/td>
Stone no. 35:
The City of Washington to its Founder.
Stone no. 36:
Virginia who gave Washington to America gives this Granite for his Monument.

 
The Seventh Landing (90 feet high):

Stone no. 40:
The State of Mississippi to the Father of his country. A.D. 1850.
Stone no. 41:
The State of Ohio. The Memory of Washington, and the Union of the States. “Sunte Perpetua.”
Stone no. 42:
The Tribute of Missouri. To the Memory of Washington and a Pledge of her fidelity to the Union of the States.

 
The Eighth Landing (100 feet high):

Stone no. 46:
“Hope.” Rhode Island.
Stone no. 47:
North Carolina. Declaration of Independence. Mecklenburg, May, 1775.
Stone no. 48:
Wisconsin. Admitted May 29, 1848.

 

The Ninth Landing (110 feet high):

Stone no. 53:
Iowa. Her Affections, like the Rivers of her Borders, Flow to an inseparable Union.
Stone no. 54:
Nov. 12, 1852. From the Postmaster and Asst. Postmasters of the State of Indiana. Dedicated to the Washington Monument, Washington. May his Principles be Distributed, Broadcast over the Land and every American.

 

The Tenth Landing (120 feet high):

Stone no. 59:
California. Youngest sister of the Union brings her Golden Tribute to the Memory of its Father.

 

The Eleventh Landing (130 feet high):

Stone no. 67:
From the Alumni of Washington College, at Lexington, Virginia. The only College endowed by the father of his Country.
Stone no. 68:
From the Grand Division, Sons of Temperance, State of Connecticut. A Tribute to the Memory of Washington. “Love, Purity, Fidelity.”

The Twelfth Landing (140 feet high):

Stone no. 75:
From Otter’s Summit. Virginia’s Loftiest Peak to Crown a Monument to Virginia’s Noblest Son.
Stone no. 76:
From Fort Greene, Battle Ground of Long Island. A Tribute from the Fort Greene Guard of Brooklyn, 1854.
Stone no. 80:
Anno 1850. By the City of Baltimore. May Heaven to this Union continue its Beneficence; May Brotherly Affection with Union be Perpetual; May the Free Constitution which is the work of our ancestors be sacredly maintained and its Administration be Stamped with Wisdom and Virtue.

The Fourteenth Landing (160 feet high):

Stone no. 84:
New York. “Excelsior.”

 

The Eleventh Landing (130 feet high):

Stone no. 89:
Vermont. “Freedom and Unity.”
Stone no. 92:
Charlestown. Bunker Hill Battleground.

The Sixteenth Landing (180 feet high):

Stone no. 95
Liberty, Independence, Virtue.” Pennsylvania. (Founded 1681). By Deeds of Peace.
Stone no. 96:
Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia, July 4th, 1776. Corporation of the City of Philadelphia.
Stone no. 98:
The Surest Safeguard of the Liberty of our Country – Total Abstinence from all that Intoxicates. Sons of Temperance of Pennsylvania.

 

The Sixteenth Landing (180 feet high):

Stone no. 100:
Liberty, Independence, Virtue.” Pennsylvania. (Founded 1681). By Deeds of Peace.
Stone no. 101:
Greece. (Greek inscription translated): “George Washington, the Hero, the Citizen of the New and Illustrious Liberty. The Land of Solon, Themistocles and Pericles – the Mother of Ancient Liberty – Sends this Ancient Stone as a Testimony of Honor and Admiration from the Parthenon.”
Stone no. 102:
Siam.
Stone no. 103:
Brazil, 1878.
Stone no. 104:
(Translation) “To Washington, the Great, Good and Just, by friendly BREMEN.”
Stone no. 106:
Presented by the Governor and Commune of the Islands of Paros and Noxos, Grecian Archipelago.

The Eighteenth Landing (200 feet high):

Stone no. 107:
From the Templars of Honor and Temperance. Organized Dec. 5th 1845. “Truth, Love, Purity and Fidelity.” Our Pledge: “We will not make, buy, sell or use as a beverage, any spirituous or malt liquors, wine, cider, or any other alcoholic liquor, and we will discountenance their manufacture, traffic and use, and this pledge we will maintain unto the end of life.” Supreme Council of the Templars of Honor and Temperance. 1846.

 

The Nineteenth Landing (210 feet high):

Stone no. 116:
Grand Division of Ohio, Sons of Temperance, “Love, Purity and Fidelity.”
Stone no. 117:
Presented by the Grand Division on behalf of the Sons of Temperance of Illinois, January 1st, 1855. Grand Division, State of Illinois, Sons of Temperance. Inst. Jan. 8, 1847.
Stone no. 121:
Kansas. Kansas Territory, organized May 20, 1851. State admitted January 29, 1861.

 

The Sixteenth Landing (180 feet high):

Stone no. 122:
All for our Country. Nevada, 1881.
Stone no. 123:
Nebraska’s Tribute “Equality before the Law.”
Stone no. 124:
(Chinese inscription translated): China. “Su-Ki-Yu, by Imperial appointment, Lieut. Governor of the Province of Fuh Kun, in his universal geography says: It is evident that Washington was a remarkable man. In devising plans, he was more decided than Chin-Shing or Wu-Kwang; in winning a country, he was braver than Tsau-Tsau or Lin-Pi. Wielding his four-footed falchion, he extended the frontiers thousands of miles, and then refused to usurp the regal dignity, or transmit to his posterity, but first established rules for an elective administration. Where in the world can be found such a public spirit? Truly, the sentiments of the three dynasties have all at once unexpectedly appeared in our day. In ruling the state, he promoted and fostered good customs, and did not depend on military merit. In this he differed from all other nations. I have seen his portrait, his air and form are grand and imposing in a remarkable degree. Ah, who would not call him a hero? The United States of America regard it promotive of national virtue generally and extensively neither to establish titles of nobility and royalty nor to conform to the age, as respects customs and public influence, but instead deliver over their own public deliberations and inventions so that the like of such a nation, one so remarkable does not exist in ancient or modern times. Among the people of the Great West can any man, in ancient or modern times, fail to pronounce Washington peerless? This Stone is Presented by a Company of Christians and Engraved at Ningpu…China…the Reign of the Emperor Heen Fung.”…(July 12th, 1853.)
Stone no. 126:
Tribute of Wyoming Territory. “To the Memory of him who by Universal consent was Chief among the Founders of the Republic.”
Stone no. 127:
Holiness to the Lord.
Stone no. 131:
State of Oregon. The Union.

 

The Twenty-first Landing (230 feet high):

Stone no. 133:
Under the Auspices of Heaven and the Precepts of Washington, Kentucky will be the last to give up the Union. “United we stand, divided we fall.”
Stone no. 134:
Georgia Convention 1850. “Wisdom, Justice, Moderation.”
Stone no. 137:
Tennessee. “The Federal Union, it must be Preserved.”

 

The Twenty-second Landing (240 feet high):

Stone no. 139:
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America in session in Washington City. May, 1859.

 

The Twenty-third Landing (250 feet high):

Stone no. 151:
The Citizens of Stockton, San Joaquin Co., California. A Tribute of Respect to the Father of our Country, George Washington, 1859.
Stone no. 154:
A Tribute from the Teachers of the Buffalo Public Schools.
Stone no. 155:
The Young Men’s Mercantile Library Association of Cincinnati. Organized A.D. 1805. A.D. 1853. 2,400 members. Proud to Honor Washington. Contributes its Humble Quota to the swelling tide of National Gratitude. Ohio – First born of the Ordinance of ’87. Every pulsation of the heart beats high, beats strong, for Liberty and the Union.

 

The Twenty-fourth Landing (260 feet high):

Stone no. 156:
The Memory of the Just is Blessed. Proverbs 10:7. Presented by the Children of the Sunday Schools of Methodist Episcopal Church, in the City of New York, Feb. 22, ’55.
Stone no. 158:
From the Sabbath School Children of the Methodist E. Church in the City and Districts of Philadelphia, 4th July, 1853. A Preached Gospel. A Free Press. Washington. We revere his Memory. “Search the Scriptures.” “Suffer little children to come unto Me and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of God. Luke XVIII:16. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs XXII:6.
Stone no. 160:
By the Pupils of the Public Schools of the City of Baltimore. A.D. MDCCCLI.

 

The Twenty-Sixth Landing (280 feet high):

Stone no. 169:
To the Father of his Country. The Addison Literary Society of the Western Military Institute, Drennon, Kentucky. “Non nobis solum, sed patriae et amicis.”
Stone no. 176:
“All that Live must Die.” A Tribute of Respect from the Ladies and Gentlemen of the Dramatic Profession of America. 1853.

 

One of the stones contributed to the Washington Monument was a block of marble from the Temple of Concord at Rome, and was a gift of the pope. It bore the inscription “Rome to America.” In March, 1854, the lapidarium, where the memorial blocks were kept, was forcibly entered, and this stone was taken and thrown into the Potomac River.

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Bibliography:

1

Washington National Monument, Washington, D.C. Concise Description – details in the Construction. From the Annual Reports of Colonel Lincoln Casey, Corps of Engineers, Engineer in Charge, February 21, 1885. (Articles deposited in recess of the Cornerstone of Monument on July 4, 1848).

2

De Zapp, Rudolph. The Washington Monument. (Illustrated). An Authentic History of its origin and Construction, and a complete description of the Memorial Tablets. Washington, D.C.: The Caroline Publishing Company, 1900, pp. 7-26.

(Ten National Memorials book)

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