Photos: The Old Newness of the Washington Monument
George Washington never liked the name of the American capital that was being built on a swamp in the 1790s. He was too modest to appreciate the name Washington City, as it was called. He saw the fanfare more befitting a monarchy than a constitutional democracy. So one can imagine his discomfort at the giant obelisk later built for him, still towering two centuries after he died in 1799.
The Washington Monument has become the physical symbol of America’s separation of powers. In Washington D.C., it sits at the center of the people’s congress, the highest court, the president’s mansion, and the memorials for two other presidents, Lincoln and Jefferson. The structure has been threatened by extreme weather, a nuclear scare, even a