After two-and-a-half years of repairs, the Washington Monument is officially back open to the public. The District’s tallest structure had been closed since 2011, when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake sent more than 150 cracks shooting through the 555-feet of marble.
At the cost of $15 million—which was financed by the federal government and a private donation—all of the monument’s damaged stones were either removed or resealed, and the 55-story elevator was repaired. Some of the monument’s new marble even came out of the same Maryland quarry that supplied material for the structure when it was first built over 100 years ago.
During construction, the structure was wrapped in 500 tons of scaffolding, which was designed by Michael Graves. At night, the supportive envelope was entirely lit up and appeared like hundreds of glowing bricks.
To celebrate the re-opening, AN‘s editors gathered up 22 of the most beautiful photos of the Washington Monument through the years, dating all the way back to the beginning. Take a look below. (And also check out the monument’s moving shadows on Google Maps.)Washington Monument under construction in the 19th century. (StreetsofWashington / Flickr) The Washington Monument reflected in a puddle. (Zach Stern / Flickr) The Presidential Helicopter flies in front of a scaffolded Washington Monument. (pauls95blazer / Flickr) An aerial view of the Washington Monument. (NASA HQ PHOTO / Flickr) A colorful sky highlights the Washington Monument. (Jeff / Flickr) Washington Monument in the fall. (Corey’sWorld / Flickr) Washington Monument in the spring. (George Brett / Flickr) A scaffolded Washington Monument at night. (Victoria Pickering / Flickr) Fireworks burst during a 2010 4th of July celebration. (Photo Phiend / Flickr) Standing at the base of the Washington Monument. (Zach Stern / Flickr) Kite-boarding at the Washington Monument. (Victoria Pickering / Flickr) The Washington Monument stands covered in scaffolding between the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol. (ehpien / Flickr) Close-up view of the top of the Washington Monument under scaffolding. (Ron Cogswell / Flickr) The Washington Monument. (Ron Cogswell / Flickr) Looking up at the Washington Monument. (Ryan Orr / Flickr) The Washington Monument begins to emerge from its scaffolding cocoon in November 2013. (John Sonderman / Flickr) A supermoon over the Washington Monument in June 2013. (NASA HQ PHOTO / Flirckr) The Washington Monument. (dcsplicer / Flickr) A supermoon rises behind the Washington Monument in 2013. (NASA HQ PHOTO / Flickr) Workers on the Washington Monument’s scaffolding. (John Sonderman / Flickr) Scaffolding around the Washington Monument. (John Sonderman / Flickr)