News & Politics

Washington Monument’s Lights Will Be Turned Off Soon

Sunday is your last chance to see the monument brighten the night sky.

Ending soon. Photograph by Flickr user Roy III.

The Washington Monument is going dark on Monday as crews fixing the damage it sustained in August 2011 switch off the 488 decorative lamps that have made the obelisk glow since June.

Repairs on the monument have reached the point where it is time for the scaffolding that has shrouded it for much of the past year to come down, along with the blue-gray scrim covering it. Sunday will be the last night to see it light up Washington’s evening sky.

“I know the decorative scrim and lighting are popular and will be missed, but we are excited that this brings us one step closer to reopening,” Bob Vogel, the Mall’s superintendent, said in a National Park Service press release. Fixing the damage the monument took in the 5.8-magnitude temblor is a $15 million job, half of which is being paid by Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein.

The monument’s exterior is about 80 percent repaired, with most of the fixes near the top of the landmark, according to NPS. The work so far has included more than 150 “dutchman repairs”—a process in which damaged stone is replaced with epoxy and gel.

The monument’s lower points will be patched up starting November 11 when crews begin to peel away the scaffolding. It will take about three months to remove all the scaffolding, after which landscaping crews will rebuild the plaza at the monument’s base in time for a spring 2014 opening.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.