AMP | Kids is proud to partnr with The Mini Page, celebrating over 50 years of providing engaging and fun learning opportunities to young readers across the country. This feature was originally syndicated in newspapers the week of February 8 – February 14, 2020. It is distributed digitally here with permission from Andrews McMeel Syndication. Enjoy and share with the young learners in your life!
Presidents Day is on Feb. 17 this year. To celebrate, The Mini Page is visiting monuments to two of our most iconic presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, in Washington, D.C.
A monument to Washington
When French-American architect Pierre L’Enfant designed the city of Washington, D.C., he included plans for a monument to America’s first president. The design was chosen through a contest, as were most capital memorials. The winning designer was Robert Mills. In 1848, workers began building the monument, but money ran out after six years. By the time work began again 25 years later, workers had to get rock from a different quarry. As a result, the stone changes color about one-third of the way up.
When the money ran out, many states and territories sent stones for the monument. For example, Alaska’s stone is made of jade and Arizona’s of petrified wood. Visitors can see some of these stones while riding on the elevator.
- When the Washington Monument was finished in 1885, it was the tallest structure in the world, at about 555 feet tall. The Eiffel Tower broke this record four years later.
- The first elevator in the monument was steam-powered. It took 10 to 12 minutes to reach the top.
- A new electric elevator takes about 70 seconds to get to the top.
- The monument is an obelisk (AH-buh-lisk), an Egyptian-style pillar with four sides and a pyramid on top.
- Around the monument, 50 American flags, one for each state, stand in a circle.
- In 2011, an earthquake slightly damaged the obelisk. It was closed to visitors for three years while repairs were made.
- The apex, or point at the top, is made of aluminum.
A memorial for Lincoln
The Lincoln Memorial is built on former swampland that was filled in by the U.S. Army in the late 1800s. Work began on the memorial in 1914. It was dedicated in 1922. The 19-foot-tall statue of Lincoln is made up of 28 pieces of marble put together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
- Lincoln is seated because the designer thought a standing figure would disappear among the tall columns.
- In 1963, at a march for civil rights, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial.
- The statue of Lincoln was sculpted by Daniel Chester French.
On the Web:
At the library:
A Kid’s Guide to Washington, D.C. by Miriam Chernick