- The Washington Times - Monday, February 16, 2015

Washington Monument has a new height — down from the recorded 555 feet, 5 1/8 inches listed at its completion in 1884.

Now, the obelisk is nearly 10 inches shorter, clocking in at 554 feet 7 and 11/32 inches, Fox News reported. Surveyors are due to announce the change on Monday.

But it’s not like the structure shrunk.

“The building didn’t change height because of anything,” said Dru Smith, chief geodesist with the National Geodetic Survey, The Associated Press reported. “It is just where you start [measuring] from.”

The Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat have called for measurements to be taken from a base point that’s different from what was used in the 1880s.



At the same time, a bit of the height difference can be credited to lightning strikes, Fox News said. Surveyors as far back as 1934 noticed that the pyramid-shaped tip has been rounded over the years due to lighting strikes that melted the aluminum tip.

The National Park Service said it’s not going to change brochures or tourist documents to reflect the new numbers.

“For our purposes, we’ll still use the historic height rather than the architectural height, since they’ve measured from different places,” said spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, Fox News reported.

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