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Anatomy & Renovation
Click on a highlighted section (dark brown) to view a detailed cutaway

Tippety top: Capstone is a 100-ounce solid aluminum pyramid, part of the original lightning-protection system; aluminum was a rare and expensive metal 100 years ago

The elevator: The original elevator was powered by steam and took 12 minutes to reach the top; the current electric elevator can make the trip in 70 seconds

Observation deck: More than one million people go to the top of the monument to see city of Washington, D.C. from above annually.

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The Washington Monument has been ravaged by water and dirt. Memorial plaques lining the inner walls are worn and vandalized. The heating and cooling systems are inefficient and the elevator system is antiquated.

To fix these problems, the monument is undergoing a $9.4 million renovation due to be completed on July 4, 2000. Private companies are picking up $5 million of the total price tag. Areas that will be renovated are divided into three phases:

PHASE 1: $1.9 million
Inside was closed until May 1998
Heating and cooling system have been refurbished; asbestos and lead-based paint removed
Elevator capacity increased from 20 to 25 people

PHASE 2: $6 million
Exterior, interior walls to be cleaned and repaired; scaffolding will be erected around exterior, covered with aesthetically pleasing fabric
Windows to be re-glassed
Aircraft warning lights to be resealed

PHASE 3: $1.5 million (projected)
Observation deck will be renovated; still in planning stages



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