U.S. News


Washington Monument To Reopen After Nearly 3 Years

Damage sustained during a 2011 earthquake shut down the monument for nearly three years and cost $15 million to repair.
Posted at 7:45 PM, May 11, 2014

The Washington Monument is one of the most prominent landmarks in the nation's capital, but it's been off limits ever since a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Virginia in August 2011, causing the structure to crack in more than 150 places. (Via National Park Service)

Now, after 33 months of repair work, the monument is finally set to reopen in a ceremony on Monday. (Via National Park Service)

The earthquake that damaged it was one of the most powerful to hit the area in the past century, causing an estimated $300 million in damage, including tens of millions to the Monument and the National Cathedral.

Jan Crawford: "Most of the damage was at the top?"

NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis: "At the top, obviously, because it magnified as it went up."

U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell: "There's one little spot where the monument just shifted a little bit ... as the whole thing above it went..." (Via CBS)

Those repairs involved setting up 500 tons of scaffolding and lighting, patching cracks and repairing joints, using stone from the same quarry as the original whenever possible. Park officials said they wanted the repairs to not be very noticeable. (Via WJLA)

​In its reopening announcement, the National Park Service repeatedly praised billionaire investor David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group and the man they say is responsible for the monument reopening in less than three years. He donated half the cost of the repairs. (Via World Economic Forum)


"I just think I got very lucky in my life and I want to give back." (Via ABC)

Monday's ceremony will be hosted by Al Roker and feature music from American Idol winner Candice Glover. The event is open to the public, but tickets to the monument itself will be distributed first-come, first-served.