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Shrouded in Scaffolding

Part 1 – Part 2

Part 1

View from the southeast, showing the elevator track on the monument's south side.The Washington Monument, a stone obelisk erected to commemorate President George Washington, was closed for an indefinite period following a 5.8 magnitude earthquake on August 23, 2011.  The closure stemmed from extensive damage sustained during the earthquake to the stone that forms the monument.  This included a dislodged block in the pyramidion, cracking near the top, and numerous smaller instances of stone damage on the exterior and interior of the structure.

Following detailed inspections of the structure and funding of a repair plan, including a $7.5 contribution from local philanthropist David Rubenstein towards the estimated $15 million cost for repairs, work to repair the structure began in early 2013, as the structure was encased in scaffolding for the third time in its history.  Preparations for the scaffolding were underway by February, the scaffolding had reached a third of the way up by late March, and was topped out by May.  A lighting system for the scaffolding went live in July.  The lighting was discontinued after the night of November 3, and the removal of the scaffolding began the following week, in a process that would take several months to complete.  The National Park Service estimates that the Washington Monument will reopen to visitors in spring 2014.

I photographed the Washington Monument while it was wearing its shroud of scaffolding on two separate occasions, photographing it during the day and at night.  I did the daytime work on September 5, 2013, and did the nighttime work on November 8, 2013.  For both shoots, I photographed it from all around, both at close range near the construction fence, and from a distance, going past the Tidal Basin, the memorials that are located in this part of the Mall, and Constitution Gardens.

 View from the southwest, showing the elevator track on the monument's south side.  Topmost part of the structure, south side.
Scaffolding detail midway up, southwest corner.
West side, viewed through construction fence at the retaining wall. View from the southeast, viewed from the construction fence.
View from the southwest, showing the base.
Elevator car, traveling up its track on the monument's south side. Elevator car, stopped at one of the designated landings on the south side.
View from the southeast.
Topmost part of the structure, viewed from the west. View from the southeast, near 15th Street NW.
View from the northwest, through the construction fence at the retaining wall.
Scaffolding detail, northeast corner. Top of the monument, east side.
View from the southwest.
Top of the monument, southwest corner.  South side, midway up.
Elevator car traveling on its track midway up the monument, viewed from the southwest.
View from the northwest, with the sun behind the pyramidion. View from the southwest. View from the northwest through the construction fence, with the sun behind the pyramidion.
View from west of the monument, and slightly north. View from west of the monument, and slightly south.
View from west of the monument.
View from west of the Monument, near the World War II Memorial, with traffic on 17th Street NW passing by. View from the southeast, from a field located between Maine Avenue SW and 15th Street SW.
Viewed from the northeast.
South side of the monument, viewed from Ohio Drive SW. View from the southwest, viewed from across the Tidal Basin.
View from the southwest, near the Jefferson Memorial.
View from the southeast, east of the Jefferson Memorial. View from the southeast, east of the Jefferson Memorial.
 View from the southeast, in front of the Jefferson Memorial.
View from the southwest, across the Tidal Basin. South side of the monument, viewed from Ohio Drive SW.
View from the southwest, across the Tidal Basin.
South side of the monument, viewed from Ohio Drive SW. View from the southwest, across the Tidal Basin.
View from the southwest, across the Tidal Basin.
West side of the monument, viewed from the western edge of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. View from the southeast, through the construction fence. Western face of the monument viewed from east of 17th Street SW, as the sun emerges from behind a cloud.
View from the southwest, near the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. View from the southwest, near the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.
View from the southwest, near the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.
West side of the monument, viewed from the western edge of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. West side of the monument, viewed from the top of the Lincoln Memorial steps.
West side of the monument, viewed from the west end of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
West side of the monument, viewed from the western edge of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. West side of the monument, viewed from the west end of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
West side of the monument, viewed from the plaza in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
West side of the monument, viewed from the western edge of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. Northwestern view from Constitution Gardens.
West side of the monument, viewed from the plaza in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
Northwestern view from Constitution Gardens. Northwestern view from Constitution Gardens.
Northwestern view from Constitution Gardens.
Northwestern view from Constitution Gardens. Northwestern view from Constitution Gardens.
Northwestern view from Constitution Gardens.

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Part 1