Photo Tour :: Washington Monument

The Washington Monument at sunset. (© Julie O'Connor, 2009)

Day Two of Julie O’Connor’s Magical, Mystical, Masonic Photo Tour of Washington, DC, takes us to the Washington Monument. The monument makes a number of appearances in The Lost Symbol, but we first glimpse it through Robert Langdon’s eyes from the seat of a Falcon 2000EX corporate jet, as he flies into Washington:

Outside the window, the sun had set, but Langdon could still make out the slender silhouette of the world’s largest obelisk, rising on the horizon like the spire of an ancient gnomon. The 555-foot marble-faced obelisk marked this nation’s heart. All around the spire, the meticulous geometry of streets and monuments radiated outwards.

Chapter 1, The Lost Symbol.

Some Lost Symbol/Washington Monument trivia (spoiler alert! Read on only if you have finished The Lost Symbol):

  • Intriguingly, the Washington Monument’s height—555 feet—is mentioned specifically four different times in The Lost Symbol, including the first reference.
  • The “lost” cornerstone of the Washington Monument referred to so often in The Lost Symbol is actually huge and, appropriately, used underground in the construction of the monument. It is true that its exact location is no longer known, but it is undoubtedly underground at the base of the Monument. Sealed in its time capsule is not just the Bible that is the centerpiece of The Lost Symbol, but numerous other documents and artifacts collected in 1848 (when the cornerstone was laid) to reflect American life and society at the time. A small sampling of what’s in there (via Snopes) besides the Holy Word of the Bible includes: Constitution of the United States and Declaration of Independence; a portrait of Washington; a map of the city of Washington; all the coins of the United States, from the eagle to the half-dime inclusive; the Constitution and General Laws of the Great Council of the Improved Order of Red Men of the District of Columbia; Appleton’s Railroad and Steamboat Companion; Copies of the Union Magazine, National Magazine, Godey’s Lady’s Book, Graham’s Magazine, and Columbian Magazine, for July, 1848; Harper’s Illustrated Catalogue; and the Annual Report of the Comptroller of the State of New York, January 5, 1848.

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