Washington Presidential Library Slated to Open

Article re-posted from the Los Angeles Times, Arts and Culture section
originally posted February 18, 2013

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By David Ng

Presidential libraries serve as official cultural repositories for the legacies of their namesake commanders in chief. More than 200 years after his death, it’s hard to believe that the country’s first president, George Washington, still lacks a library devoted to his remarkable life.

Mount Vernon, the Virginia home of Washington, has spent the last several years raising $100 million to construct an official library on its scenic grounds. Organizers announced on Friday, Feb. 15 — just in time for Presidents Day weekend — an opening date of Sept. 27.

The library’s website states that it will be the only presidential library built and maintained without government funding. The 45,000-square-foot building will provide access to books, manuscripts and other archival material from Mount Vernon.

Visiting scholars will have the option of staying at a 6,000-square-foot residence next to the library.

The full title of the library will be the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington.

Presidential libraries and museums typically are built within a few years after a president leaves office. The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is set to open its doors May 1 at its location at Southern Methodist University in Texas.

The William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum opened in 2004 in Little Rock, Ark. Southern California lays claim to two presidential libraries — Ronald Reagan‘s in Simi Valley and Richard Nixon‘s in Yorba Linda.

Crossword Puzzle Celebrating Washington’s Birthday

Following the Revolutionary War, General George Washington was elected the first United States President in April 30, 1789.

He once was quoted as saying, “I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is the best policy.”

George Washington crossword puzzle

Learning U.S. History can be fun.

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Washington Monument in Washington D.C., USA

The Washington Monument is an obelisk-shaped building in Washington, D.C.that was built to honor the first President of the United States of America George Washington. This 555-foot-tall obelisk is the tallest building in the District of Columbia.  By law, no other building in D.C. is allowed to be taller.

Washington Monument in D.C., USA

The Washington Monument honors the first American President.

Pierre Charles L’Enfant (the architect who designed Washington, D.C.) planned in 1783 to have a prominent statue honoring George Washington near the White House and Capitol. But exactly how to honor the first President of the United States was not an easy decision.  In 1833 the Washington National Monument Society was formed with the purpose of deciding upon an appropriate memorial. This group had a design competition with architect Robert Mills‘ design winning the contest in 1836.

Work on the stone monument to George Washington did not begin until July 4, 1848 due to lack of funds. Work on the monument was stopped in 1854 when the monument was only 152 feet tall, once again.  This time it was because donations dropped off.  The project was almost abandoned but work finally started again in 1876.

Sharp-eyed tourists can see the slight difference in color of the marble on the bottom third and the upper two-thirds of the monument.

The Army Corps of Engineers, who started working on the monument after the Civil War, determined that the foundation was not sufficient for the 600-foot-tall obelisk that was originally planned, so a 550-foot-monument was built.

The exterior of the Washington Monument was completed on Dec. 6, 1884. After the interior was completed, the monument was opened to the public.  Inside the Washington Monument is an elevator and a 897-step stairway. There is an observation deck at 500 feet.

The giant obelisk contains 36,491 blocks and weighs 90,854 tons. Lightning rods at the top protect the monument from lightning strikes.

At the time the monument was built, aluminum was newly discovered, scarce and very expensive. Therefore there is a nine-inch-tall aluminum pyramid at the top of the Washington monument.

 

Facts and Figures about the Washington Monument:

Height from ground to top 555 feet 5 1/8 inches = 169.29 meters
Width at base of monument 55 feet 1 1/2 inches = 16.80 meters
Thickness of monument walls at base 15 feet = 4.57 meters
Number of blocks in monument 36,491
Cornerstone laid July 4, 1848
Capstone set December 6, 1884
Officially opened to the public October 9, 1888
Cost of monument $1,187,710
Designed by Robert Mills
 
Information provided by Enchanted Learning.com

Find the President in this Word Search

Celebrate U.S. History the Fun Way

Pretend you are a special secret service agent. It is your job to find the United States President. Are you up the challenge? If so, consider this word search training practice. If you choose to accept this mission, may your cunning wit and keen observation be with you! Good luck, agent.

If you’d like to download copies of this puzzle, please click here:  Word Search puzzle.

President's Day Word Search

The fun way to learn U.S. History

This puzzle has been brought to you by Sue Lindlauf with the Grand Forks Herald in South Dakota, U.S., in conjunction with Newspapers in Education.