President James Polk was the President when the Washington Monument was commissioned. It is a large tall obelisk monument located at the end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
It was constructed to honor the first U.S. President, George Washington. It is made of Sandstone, Marble, granite, and glass. It is at the same time the worlds tallest obelisk and also the tallest freestanding stone structure.
Many people argued for many years about how to honor George Washington. Some wanted to build a park, others argued for something small. But the people that designed and pushed for the Washington Monument eventually won out.
President James Polk was instrumental in pushing through the initial construction which began in 1848. It began as a result of the winner of a contest for designs that began in 1836, and architect Robert Mills was the eventual winner.
He had build different structures in Baltimore, and he was considered well qualified for the job. His design for the monument to President Washington was a challenge, and it called for a 600 tall four sided pillar that would slowly taper until it reached the top.
Many people hesitated when the price tag was revealed in the early 1840s- nearly $1 million dollars. After President James Polk was elected, he pushed using his influence and the builders began, and the foundation was laid in a ceremony held in the Spring of 1848, and construction progressed slowly but surely for several years.
It progressed until 1854 and then funding ran out. Congress voted to give $200,000 dollars to the project in 1855 but then changed their mind and took the funding away. The Civil War started in 1865, and the project languished.
After the Civil War ended, engineers began to study to see if it could be completed. Eventually work restarted in 1879. Much of the structure was redesigned for weight bearing ability by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who worked hard to continue construction.
Finally the Washington Monument was completed in December, 1884.