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Topics in Chronicling America - Construction of the Washington Monument

“Highest on Earth, The Washington Monument is Loftiest of its Kind,” proclaimed the October 24, 1894 Abbeville Press and Banner 10 years after the monument was finished. One of D.C.’s most renowned architectural marvels that honors one of America’s most renowned historical figures, the Washington Monument at the time of its completion was the tallest building in the world. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.


Picture of the Washington monument.

Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • March 4, 1836. Calls for designs of the monument are announced in newspapers.
  • May-June, 1848. Announcements that the cornerstone will be laid on July 4th.
  • January-May 1853. Building continues as planned, surpasses the 100 foot mark.
  • March 13, 1854. Story denounces vandals for stealing stone donated by Pope Pius IX from Rome.
  • Feb 22, 1849. President Polk issues deed that sanctions the building of the monument on public grounds.
  • May 30, 1855. Superintendent ejected from grounds.
  • May-June, 1876. Congressional debates resume about appropriating funds for the completion of the monument.
  • August-December, 1878. Creation of the Washington Monument Commission to ensure the monument’s completion.
  • December 6, 1884. The monument is finally finished. February 21, 1885 The monument is officially dedicated to Washington.
  • March, 1885. Comparisons to other architectural structures begin to appear in newspapers, celebrating the great feat.
  • October, 1888. While visitors have flocked to the monument for several months, the monument officially opens to the public.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Washington monument.
  • It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results.
  • Be prepared to distinguish between the many articles that discuss other Washington Monuments or statues in New York and Baltimore, Maryland.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  February 11, 2015
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