What appeared to be the first short-lived suspension of elevator service in the just-reopened Washington Monument happened on Saturday.

The halt in operation of the elevator inside the 555-foot monument did not last long, according to National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst.

Elevator service was interrupted at about 1 p.m., he said, but workers resolved the issue and visitors on the observation level rode the elevator back down.

“Normal operations resumed after about an hour,” Litterst said. He said tours were on schedule, and he apologized for the inconvenience.

But if the monument is one of the best-known American symbols, then the elevator inside has also achieved a kind of celebrity for its notoriously faulty operation.


The towering obelisk on the Mall had just reopened on Thursday. It had been closed since August 2016 for the construction of a visitor-screening facility and to modernize its elevator.


The elevator takes visitors, half a million per year, to the observation level 500 feet up.

It was not immediately clear Saturday what caused the interruption in service.

Between 2014 and the temporary closure of the granite and marble obelisk in 2016, the elevator broke down 24 times.

Visitors were often stranded at the top and faced with the prospect of descending 897 steps.

In favorable conditions, windows at the top provide a panoramic view for miles into both Virginia and Maryland. By rough calculation, the horizon is about 30 miles away.


It was cloudy at times on Saturday, but as has been true almost all month in Washington, no raindrops fell to impair visibility.

Among other things, the lack of rain played a role in America’s foreign affairs. A state dinner for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was held outdoors at the White House on Friday.

Although there was a backup plan, President Trump said Friday that he was not expecting any rain. And as it turned out, there was none.