Bob Vogel, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, said at a press conference today at the National Mall that the Washington Monument is "structurally sound" and -- as if anyone had any doubts -- "not going anywhere."
The monument, standing 555 feet and one-eighths inches tall on the Mall between the U.S. Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial, was damaged during the August 23, 2011, earthquake that shook the East Coast, and has been closed to tourists since then. According to Vogel, the quake damaged the elevator and put at least four cracks in the structure.
The Park Service will undertake an inspection of the exterior this week, with Brandon Lathan, a mountaineering specialist ranger, rappelling down the monument to look for more damage. Except some interesting pictures of the rappelling in the media in the days ahead.
The Washington Monument is the world's tallest stone structure, naturally dedicated to the memory of the First President of the United States, with construction beginning in 1848, during the term of the 11th President of the United States (Polk). It was dedicated in 1885, near the end of the term of the 21st President of the United States (Arthur).