This week marks the 136th anniversary of the completion of the Washington Monument.
The Washington Monument was started on July 4th, 1832, and because of money shortfalls and the Civil War wasn’t completed until December 6th, 1884. So it isn’t any wonder that we should go and see the last piece of the construction put in place. We need to take our list of the Top Ten Things Not to Do to not cause any kind of time continuum interruption. Grab the list and jump in the Oldsmobile, and we’ll be off.
TopTen Things Not to Do at the Completion of the Washington Monument in 1884
10 If you go, do not offer to place the eight-inch aluminum point on the top. (If you do, at best, you’ll be laughed at. To St Louis. At worse, you will ask Lt. Col. Casey of the Army Corps of Engineers. (It was Lt. Col. Casey who supervised the construction of the final piece of the monument, Morrison. He is the one to place the point. If looks could kill.)
9 If you go, Do not get in Tiny the WWF champ’s way as he lowers the capstone in place. If you do, at best, someone will pull you out of the way. At worst, Tiny will lower it in place anyway. (You see, Morse the capstone weighs 3,300 pounds. I think Tiny wouldn’t mind seeing what a flat you would look like sailing off the monument.)
8 If you go, do not torture other visitors with the question, Do you know why the monument is 555 feet high? If you do, at best, you will be ignored. At worst, you’ll ask someone who knows but is chilled to the bone in the cold air. (That person will tell you that the height was determined by setting it at ten times the base’s width. That person is now asking for your gloves, Morvan. I think they have earned them._
7 If you go, do not ask if you can take the elevator to the top. If you do, at best, those you ask will think you are drunk. At worst, they’ll think you are having an episode of some kind. (The elevator was not complete until 1888, Moshe. Even the iron stairs were not done until 1886, so these folks are wondering. Oh, look. They have guys in white jackets and are pointing your way.)
6 If you go, do not take a bet on how many marble and granite stones were used in the construction. If you do, at best, you’ll bet a penny. At worst, you’ll put your Maryland horse farm up as collateral. (Even though you thought you knew history, Mosi. Your guess was wrong. It took 36,000 blocks of granite and marble to build the monument. Those big guys look like they want the deed to your virtual horse farm, which, of course, you don’t have. Maybe it’s time to jump back into the Oldsmobile.)
5 If you go, do not ask to see the cornerstone. If you do, at best, you’ll get some surprised looks. At worst, you’ll be handed a shovel. (The cornerstone was buried 21 feet below the surface in 1848, Muni. I think these guys are beginning to believe you are some kind of anarchist. I would be careful if I were you. Those tar and feather parties are not much fun.)
4 If you go, do not give an opinion that the laying of the cornerstone in 1848 was a solitary affair. If you do, at best, whoever hears this chatter will not have attended. At worst, you say so in front of someone who was there. (The cornerstone was laid with upwards of 20,000 people in attendance, including President James K. Polk, Mrs. James Madison, Mrs. Alexander Hamilton, George Washington Parke Custis, and future presidents Buchanan, Lincoln, and Johnson, Murchadh. This person is laughing at you now.)
3 If you go, do not point out the apparent ring of different colored stones at the 126th foot level. If you do, at best, you’ll get a “so what.” At worst, you say something overheard by Lt. Col. Casey. (The different color stones resulted from the quarry near Baltimore not being available after the construction was begun again. Different stones were used, and the color was slightly off. The Lt. Col. is so pleased to have you point this out, Mychajlo. I see him with a box of dueling pistols. Could it be he wants satisfaction?)
2 If you go, do not argue with those who say the completed monument is the tallest building in the world. If you do, at best, people will walk away. At worst, you might get into fisticuffs with one. ( You see, Myrick, once the monument was complete, it became the tallest building in the world. It was second only to the Cologne Cathedral. It kept this status until the Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889. Looks like that guy is putting on some gloves. Hope you know how to box.)
1 If you go, do not question the value of the aluminum apex. If you do, at best, those who hear you will think you are crazy. At worst, Lt. Col. Thomas Lincoln Casey will hear you. ( The aluminum apex was thought to be as valuable as silver. It was cast in Philadelphia and thought to be the largest piece of aluminum in the world. After casting and before installation, it was put on display at Tiffany’s in New York. Looks like the Col wants a word with you, Matthew.)
Today is the 79th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and time to remember all who lost their lives on that Sunday morning.