The Washington Monument is one of the most easily recognized structures in America, if not the world, yet the long and tortuous history of its construction is much less well known. Beginning with its sponsorship by the Washington National Monument Society and the grudging support of a largely indifferent Congress, the Monument's 1848 groundbreaking led only to a truncated obelisk, beset by attacks by the Know Nothing Party and lack of secured funding and, from the mid-1850s, to a twenty-year interregnum. It was only 1n 1876 that a Joint Commission of Congress revived the Monument and entrusted its completion to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In "To the Immortal Name and Memory of George Washington": The United States Corps of Engineers and the Construction of the Washington Monument, historian Louis Torres tells the fascinating story of the Monument, with a particular focus on the efforts of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Lincoln Casey, Captain George W. Davis, and civilian Corps employee Bernard Richardson Green and the details of how they completed the construction of this great American landmark. The book also includes a discussion and images of the various designs, some of them incredibly elaborate compared to the austere simplicity of the original, and an account of Corps stewardship of the Monument up to its takeover by the National Park Service in 1933. First published in 1985. 148 pages, ill.