Scaffolding ceremony sheds light on Washington Monument
Scaffolding surrounding the monument is draped with a special semi-transparent fabric, allowing the obelisk to remain visible throughout the restoration
|CNN's William Schneider reports on the checkered history of the Washington Monument
March 2, 1999
Web posted at: 11:36 p.m. EST (0436 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- There is a new sight to see at night in Washington -- scaffolding that was lighted Tuesday to become what some have called "a monument to the Washington Monument."
The now-illuminated scaffolding was designed to be both practical and a work of art. It consists of thin aluminum tubing, draped with special semi-transparent, blue architectural fabric that allows the obelisk to remain visible throughout its historic restoration
Efforts to refurbish the freestanding masonry structure began in 1996 and will be completed next year. Funding for the $9.5 million project is coming from major corporations.
The illumination ceremony marked the next phase of the restoration, where some 20 stonemasons will repair cracks in the marble facade of the monument to America's first president.
Well-known weather forecaster Willard Scott was the master of ceremonies as the scaffolding was lighted Tuesday. He counted down to the moment when Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt helped push the button that turned on the many lights on the 555-foot-tall structure.
Singer Amy Grant was accompanied by the U.S. Army Band as she sang "America the Beautiful."
Restoration work includes:
- Construction of scaffolding for the entire 555-foot-5 1/8-inch monument
- Sealing 500 feet of exterior and interior stone cracks
- Pointing 64,000 linear feet of exterior joints
- Cleaning 59,000 square feet of interior wall surface
- Sealing eight observation windows and eight aircraft warning lights
- Repairing 1,000 square feet of chipped and patched stone
- Pointing 3,900 linear feet of interior joints
- Preserving and restoring 192 interior commemorative stones
Source: National Park Service
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