Incomplete Washington Monument in Wood Engraving from 1882

We found this cool wood engraving from 1882, meant to depict the National Mall looking from the South. In the image, you can see buildings like the Smithsonian Institution in the lower middle. Off to the left is the best part, though. Since the wood carving was created in 1882, the Washington Monument had not yet been completed.

Our national capital, viewed from the South
Our national capital, viewed from the South. Source: Library of Congress

As we’ve written about before, construction on the Monument was slow, and actually stopped because of a lack of funds, and the Civil War. It wasn’t completed until February 21, 1885. If you visit the Monument today, you can see where the construction stopped, because the stones are different colors.

About Sam E.

Sam is a new contributor to Ghosts of DC and Ghosts of Baltimore. He has been a long time fan of the website. As someone who can lose hours looking at old pictures and reading about DC history, the blog is a perfect outlet for him to explore the history of the District.

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  • Bonnie Beane

    Hey guy, my great-grandfather worked on several important Federal buildings in D.C. ~~ the Capitol, Washington Monument and others…….in fact, we have (from Washington, D.C., and now in sunny Palm Desert, CA) what we’ve called ‘the baby’ all our lives, (and I’m 71 now)…….which is actually carved from a piece of rejected, poor quality whitestone intended for a downtown Federal building back in the day, like the Capitol or Lincoln or Jefferson Memorial…….well, a wonderful sculptor made this chunk of whitestone baby into a (HEAVY) carved statue of a kittle kid (originally a naked little boy), except for his George Washington hat, sitting on a whitestone pillow, with his right hand up to his mouth, and left his hand holding onto his left foot. Seeing’s how our grandmother (daughter of my great-grandfather, Samuel Gaskins (he worked on several Federal buildings) had EIGHT babies in her lifetime (6 were girls)…….she was not a happy Catholic woman to have that naked male stone baby around her six young daughters…..and so the stone mason was asked to delete the stone baby’s privates and ever since then, the baby’s crotch has been ‘smooth’, politely speaking. Anyone who hasn’t seen the statue prior to that deletion would never have known the stone mason had chopped it off! Now quit laughing and get back to work!! I’ll try to take a photo and attach it for ya.