This Resource page is updated regularly. Please check back often for new information.

A Brief History of the Washington Monument Grounds

Where did the idea for the Monument come from? Why were the Washington Monument grounds never completed? Watch the video or download an annotated version of the video.

Watch the video

Read the annotated
version of the video

Maps, Plans, & Views


Topographic map of the Washington Monument Grounds


1818 R. King Map of the City of Washington
(Learn more about this early, accurate map in Iris Miller’s Washington in Maps 1606-2000, 2002, pp. 72-73)
2010 FEMA 100-year flood plain map
**NEW** Historic views from the Albert H. Small collection
Link to photographs of current conditions by Carol M. Highsmith
Link to historical photographs of the Washington Monument
Link to drawings, plans, and photographs of the Washington Monument in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)
Google Earth (free download — provides multiple views of the Washington Monument and surrounding areas. Open Google Earth. Click on blue and white globe icon on your hard drive. In the “Search” box, type in Washington Monument to see satellite views. In “Layers,” click “Panoramio Photos.” Click on blue squares, each of which represents a photograph of this location at ground level.


Historical Documents & Studies


National Park Service Cultural Landscapes Inventory for the Washington Monument Grounds 2009


Link to Historic Preservation Report prepared for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture 2007, with numerous historic maps and views of the Washington Monument grounds.
Designing the Nation’s Capital: The 1901 Plan for Washington, D.C., 2006, Commission of Fine Arts. This collection of scholarly essays examines numerous aspects of the 1901-1902 McMillan Plan (Senate Park Commission Plan) for the National Mall.
This is the most recent engineering report for subsurface soil and water table conditions near the Washington Monument. It includes earlier studies outlining concerns about the effects of any construction on the Monument’s foundation. (The 2002 proposed visitor facility was not funded by Congress.)


Why an Ideas Competition?

Watch the New 1-Minute Competition Video

NEW 1-minute video


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