tThe Washington Monument was temporarily closed after a man vandalized the national monument Tuesday night with swear words in red paint, according to U.S. park police.
The unnamed male suspect was taken into custody last night after he splashed red paint on the western base of the historic monument and wrote a vulgar message. “Did you get lost because of this,” it said. “Gov says tough s—.”
National Park Service conservationists began the recovery process early Wednesday morning. The process is likely to involve multiple treatments over the course of two to three weeks, a spokesperson said.
clearing crews arrived at 6am ET on Wednesdays to tape the area and wash the paint off the monument.
When it was completed in 1884, the Washington Monument was the world’s tallest man-made structure, though it was topped by the Eiffel Tower just five years later.
In 2011, the Washington Monument was temporarily closed after it was damaged by a magnitude 5.8 earthquake. It reopened in May 2014.
Tuesday’s vandalism wasn’t the first time monuments on the National Mall were damaged.
During the Presidents’ Day holiday in February 2017, the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and World War II Memorial were damaged by graffiti rendered in black permanent marker.
And in the summer of 2020, during protests after George Floyd’s assassination, vandals wrote on the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial and the statue of Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski in Freedom Plaza.
The National Mall is open 24 hours a day. The Washington Monument open daily at 9 a.m. Visitors can get timed tickets to a 70 seconds elevator ride to the observation floor 500 feet above the ground for spectacular views over the capital.
The Washington Monument Lodge on 15th Street opens at 8:45 AM for free same-day tickets on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors can also order tickets online up to a month in advance.