Major Repairs Executed on D.C. Landmarks

Joshua Axelrod

- NBC4 Washington
The first portion of a five-part restoration project at Union Station has been finished, according to Union Station officials.
Union Station’s Main Hall was damaged in the earthquake that hit D.C. Aug. 23, 2011, which caused plaster to crumble and break off the ceiling. Since then, workers have been busy repairing the ceiling to ensure the safety of the estimated 20,000 Washingtonians who pass through the Main Hall every day.
Other major D.C. landmarks – like the Washington Monument and National Cathedral – have also been under construction since 2011.
Here is a quick update on their restoration’s progress:
Union Station
NBC4’s Kristin Wright was given a tour of the Main Hall’s restoration Tuesday morning. She said that though the first of five bays and the western wall have been repaired, the “project still has a ways to go.”
This is first full Main Hall ceiling restoration in 25 years and everything is being done by hand. The next step is to restore the remaining four bays and the eastern wall.
Workers are “re-leafing” gold in the ceiling -- they're replacing 22-karat gold with longer-lasting 23-karat metal.
The total cost of guilding so far has been $650,000, which the American Express Foundation is helping pay for with a $350,000 grant through the National Trust for Historic Prevention.
The rest of the project is being paid for in a multitude of ways, including reserve funds and insurance coverage.
Washington Monument
Brian Hall of National Mall and Memorial Parks said the restoration of the Washington Monument is in its “final phases” of completion.
He said scaffolding will remain on the monument until all the joints up to 20-feet high have been repointed (filled in or repaired) and that workers are also in the process of finishing all necessary interior work.
The next step, according to Hall, is rebuilding the plaza around the monument. If all goes well, he said he expects the monument to reopen sometime in spring 2014.
National Cathedral
According to its website, the National Cathedral suffered $26 million in earthquake damage. As of Feb. 19, the Cathedral has so far raised $10 million through restoration.
So far, the money has come from the Lilly Endowment, National Trust for Historic Prevention’s Partners in Preservation program, Save America’s Treasures program, and various grants and gifts.
The Cathedral just recently picked the James G. Davis Construction Corporation to start Phase I of earthquake repairs. The first round of repairs is estimated to take 12-14 months and will focus on the interior ceiling, removing protective netting inside the Cathedral and restoring the exterior east end.