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Sorry, cherry blossom tourists: Your dreams of scaling D.C.’s tallest structure have been dashed—for now.
“The Washington Monument is closed after the elevator stopped at the 280 [foot] level this afternoon; all visitors inside the monument at the time (including 15 [to] 20 on the elevator and approximately 25 at the observation level) were safely evacuated without incident,” a National Park Service spokesperson said in an email sent just before 4 p.m. “Elevator technicians are on site; the monument will remain closed until their inspection and any necessary repairs are completed.”
The monument measures taller than 550 feet. Recently, it had reopened on the morning of Feb. 23 after an “elevator control box” needed repairs a few days prior because of “inadvertent” damage by a contractor. This wasn’t “the result of any mechanical failure in the elevator, or any other system,” NPS said at the time.
Update March 30: Praise be—NPS says the monument opened on time at 9 a.m. today. “The elevator repair technicians have completed their inspection and certified that the elevator is safe to resume operations,” a spokesperson writes in an email. “The National Park Service is awaiting the final report from the technicians on the cause of the service disruption.”
Other than the tourists in town, there’s one person close to the National Mall who’s sure to be happy: D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton. In a statement Tuesday evening, she said the breakdown was “untimely.”
“It is ironic that the repeated breakdowns have occurred after the elevator’s extensive rehabilitation,” Norton continued. “Securing reliable elevator service for the most important elevator in the nation’s capital, and the only elevator in the Washington Monument, must be a top priority for NPS.”
Did you hear that? “The most important elevator in the nation’s capital!”
Photo by Andrew Giambrone