The Washington Monument, which has had a string of hard-luck closures in recent years, is ready to try again this month to open for visitors, although an exact date hasn't been set yet.
The 555-foot obelisk is one of DC's most familiar sights, and it's quite possible that many visitors who've looked at it have not even realized it's been closed for six of the last eight years. When it reopens, visitors will enjoy an upgraded elevator system and hopefully pass more rapidly through the new visitor screen area that replaces a hastily-installed 2001 setup.
The monument, which claims to be the world's tallest free-standing monument, was closed from 2011 to 2014 to repair earthquake damage that shifted some stones near the top. Two years after its reopening, it closed again because of an elevator mishap. It was scheduled to open before this year's Cherry Blossom Festival, but missed that deadline because of contaminated soil found around its base.