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hiP* The Sunday Star Pictorial Magasine, May 4, 1947 99 for Sightseers: The Monument Hazel Harrison and Betty Searsboth, from Oklahoma City, Okla., check landmarks on a-map at a window. By CASPAR NANNES VISITORS TO THE CAPITAL soon learn that the best place from which to gain an over-all picture of the city le the top of the Washington Monument. On busy week ends, between 5,000 and 8,000 persons look down on the buildings, parks, bridges and water ways comprising the topographical setting of the District area from the windows of the 555-foot-5Vi-inch ob elisk. More than 21,000,000 visitors entered the monument between its opening in October. 1888, and January of this year. The shaft was proposed as a memo rial to Oeorge Washington in 1783, but Congress took no action. In 1833, a group of District residents or ganized the Washington National t Monument Society to build "a great I national monument to the memory of Washington at the seat of the Federal Government." Chief Justice John Marshall was the first president ôf the organization. A design submitted by Robert Mills, the architect, was selected in 1847, after $70,000 had been raised by popu lar subscription. It was greatly re vised, however, before the cornerstone was laid, with elaborate Masonic cere monies, on July 4, 1848. First, a political quarrel, then the Civil War halted work on the project, which stood incomplete at 153 feet un til 1880, when work was resumed. The morning the shaft reached 160 feet, September 23. 1880, men coming to work found a cat at its top. The animal leaped to the ground and, dazed, was killed by a dog. Its body is now preserved in the Smithsonian Institution. The capstone marking completipn of the monument was set December 6, 1884, and President Arthur attended the dedication ceremonies the follow ing February 21. The obelisk was not opened to the public, however, until more than three years later. During the next two decades three baseball players, Jack O'Connor of Cleveland, Billy Shriver of Chicago and Gabby Street of Washington, dis tinguished themselves by catching balls dropped from the top of the shaft. On June 7,1941, Pitcher Walter Johnson threw several soft balls, at tached to parachutes, out of the east window. A 16-year-old boy from Rock wood, Mich., made the only catch. President Truman was the first Chief Executive to go to the top of the Monument. He visited it on January 14, 1946. President Coolldge placed a wreath at Its base on February 22, 1927 The first elevator In the obelisk was run by steam. In 1900, the first electric elevator was put In, the pres ent one replacing It In 1926. The ascent takes 70 seconds. Persons who prefer to climb the 898 steps usually take 20 minutes to reach the top. Several persons have raced up the steps in seven minutes. The elevator runs every 10 minutes on slack days and every five minutes on busy ones. Emergency landings, built in 1938, are available every 10 feet if the elevator should get stuck. Use of the elevator was free until June 2. 1942, when it was decided tu make the memorial self-sustaining by charging 10 cents a round trip for all persons over 16. As the elevator nears the top, a recording gives the passenger a brief history of the memorial. Coming down, it adds other items of informa tion. Twelve full-time employes take care of the monument: Charles L. Herman, custodian; John H. Bushong, assistant 1·£ & custodian; eight guards, an eli operator and a janitor. There are two windows on of the four sides at the top c memorial. An illustrated map, ting important buildings and points of interest, is above each ing. On a clear day, visitors ct the Blue Ridge Mountains 60 away. Iron bars were placed c windows in 1928, after several pi had attempted to jump out.