“The waters of the Potomac River quietly slapped the huge bollards supporting the wharf that had been built to offload the massive blocks of marble. These arrived by barge almost daily. Teams of oxen stood by to haul the stones over the short railway that led from the water’s edge up to the base of the huge obelisk that was slowly rising up out of the open field. The structure was far from being finished but was already very much in clear view from the President’s House just a few streets north.
When it would be completed thirty years later, the obelisk would soar some 555 feet, a towering monument in tribute to the man who was credited for birthing the nation. But on this early March morning in 1854, what was to become the Washington Monument, struggled to reach just over one-quarter of its ultimate height. Funds, politics and a great war on the horizon presented barriers that would eventually shut down construction for more than twenty years.”