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Washington Monument reopens after quake repairs

By Katia Hetter, CNN
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Mon May 12, 2014
The Washington Monument is reopening after a 2011 earthquake caused $15 million in damage. Cutting the ribbon Monday, May 12, were, from left, National Mall and Memorial Parks Superintendent Robert Vogel; Caroline Cunningham, president of the Trust for the National Mall; David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group; National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis; U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell; counselor to President Obama John Podesta; Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.; and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (with unidentified man). The Washington Monument is reopening after a 2011 earthquake caused $15 million in damage. Cutting the ribbon Monday, May 12, were, from left, National Mall and Memorial Parks Superintendent Robert Vogel; Caroline Cunningham, president of the Trust for the National Mall; David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group; National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis; U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell; counselor to President Obama John Podesta; Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.; and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (with unidentified man).
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Washington Monument reopens
Washington Monument reopens
Washington Monument reopens
Washington Monument reopens
Washington Monument reopens
Washington Monument reopens
Washington Monument reopens
Washington Monument reopens
Washington Monument reopens
Washington Monument reopens
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The monument was forced to close for repairs after a 2011 earthquake
  • The cost of the $15 million renovation was split between taxpayers and a philanthropist
  • Summer hours have been extended to allow for more visitors

(CNN) -- Fresh off a $15 million, nearly three-year repair job, the Washington Monument reopened Monday.

One of Washington's most popular sites, the 555-foot obelisk had been closed since a magnitude-5.8 earthquake in August 2011 caused more than 150 cracks in the structure.

Washington Monument reopens after quake

The National Park Service and the Trust for the National Mall hosted a reopening ceremony Monday morning. The ceremony included entertainment from "American Idol" winner Candice Glover, the Boy and Girl Choristers of Washington National Cathedral Choir, the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps and the U.S. Navy Band.

Ticketed public tours will start at 1 p.m. ET, and Monday tickets were made available at the Washington Monument Lodge on a first-come basis. Tickets for tours on future dates have been available since April 16 at the park service's reservation page, www.recreation.gov. The park service will offer extended operating hours, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., through the end of summer.

"The construction of the Washington Monument began in 1848 when private citizens raised money to build a memorial to honor our nation's first president," Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in an announcement on the park service website.

The Washington Monument is reopening after a 2011 earthquake caused $15 million in damage. Cutting the ribbon Monday, May 12, were, from left, National Mall and Memorial Parks Superintendent Robert Vogel; Caroline Cunningham, president of the Trust for the National Mall; David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group; National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis; U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell; counselor to President Obama John Podesta; Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.; and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (with unidentified man). The Washington Monument is reopening after a 2011 earthquake caused $15 million in damage. Cutting the ribbon Monday, May 12, were, from left, National Mall and Memorial Parks Superintendent Robert Vogel; Caroline Cunningham, president of the Trust for the National Mall; David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group; National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis; U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell; counselor to President Obama John Podesta; Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.; and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (with unidentified man).
Repairing the Washington Monument
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Photos: Repairing the Washington Monument Photos: Repairing the Washington Monument

For the restoration project, Congress allocated $7.5 million, and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein matched those funds with a $7.5 million donation via the Trust for the National Mall.

"This enduring spirit of public-private partnerships has made it possible for visitors to once again enjoy the monument and its unmatched view of Washington, D.C.," Jewell said.

Built as a tribute to George Washington's military leadership during the American Revolution, construction of the Washington Monument was started in 1848 and completed in 1884.

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