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The Washington Monument reopens after almost three years

The Washington Monument will reopen to the public Monday while still bearing some scars from the damage done by the 2011 earthquake.
By Aileen Graef   |   May 12, 2014 at 8:03 AM  |  Updated May 12, 2014 at 8:47 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) -- The Washington Monument has lost the last bits of its scaffolding, and will finally reopen to visitors Monday after nearly three years of construction.

It will be the first time visitors will be able to view the nation's capital from the top since Aug. 23, 2011, when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake cause significant damage, resulting in its closure.

"In my entire career I've never worked on something so magnificent and historical on something like the Washington Monument," project manager Bob Collie told WTOP.

The monument saw approximately 800,000 visitors per year before the closing. Collie said while the visitors won't be able to see any of the patches on the outside, they will notice some patchwork inside. Visitors will see steel anchors and beams in the monument now that are meant to stabilize the obelisk in the case of future seismic events.

"The Washington Monument is not a work of art, but a historic building. So it has a certain character and a certain quality, and that stone that's been weathering for more than 100 years -- stone that's been patched and chipped and cracked and hit by lightning," said James Perry, chief of resources management for the park. "So it's not meant to be pristine. It's meant to maintain that character."

The National Park Service will hold a ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday on the southwest grounds of the monument to celebrate the reopening.

Follow @AileenGraef and @UPI on Twitter.
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