National Park Service


Constructed from 1848 to 1884, the monument is a tribute to George Washington and is the tallest unreinforced masonry structure in the world. The masonry walls taper from over twelve feet thick at the base to eighteen inches at the top of the shaft. The unique pyramidion that caps the monument is clad in seven-foot-wide hung marble panels with an inscribed block of cast aluminum serving as the apex.


WJE assembled a team of engineers and architects with the necessary expertise to quickly and economically assess the structural stability of the monument and overall impact of the seismic event on the natural stone and historic fabric of the monument. Using specialized rope access techniques, engineers and architects that comprise the WJE Difficult Access Team (DAT) rappelled down the monument exterior, documenting the damage and removing loosened stone fragments. The DAT used Tablet PCs (iPads) to record observations on drawing overlays so that interior and exterior conditions could be documented electronically and used to develop repair documents.

WJE developed temporary repairs to minimize water intrusion and then completed a seismic study to assess the monument's vulnerability to future potential earthquakes. Finally, the team developed a comprehensive set of construction document drawings and specifications that guided the permanent repair and restoration of the Monument, which reopened to the public in May 2014.