Washington Monument elevator briefly breaks down after years of elevator renovations

Days after it reopened to the public, the elevator inside the Washington Monument temporarily broke down on Saturday, park officials said.

The monument — the tallest building in Washington, D.C. — opened on Thursday after a three-year renovation in which its elevator and security systems were upgraded.

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On Saturday, however, "The elevator was down for about an hour, but came back online," the National Park Service (NPS) wrote on Twitter. "No evacuation via the stairs was necessary."

"We apologize to our visitors who were inconvenienced. Normal operations have resumed and tours are running on schedule."

Mike Litterst, a spokesperson for NPS, said staffers resolved the issue after about an hour and visitors who were at the top of the 555-foot monument were able to get back downstairs using the elevator.

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Before it reopened this week, the Washington Monument had been closed for most of the past eight years. An August 2011 earthquake left cracks in the stones near the top of the obelisk. It reopened in 2014, but Park Service officials were forced to close it again two years later after a series of elevator malfunctions.

The newly renovated elevator inside the Washington Monument briefly broke down on Saturday, park officials said.

The newly renovated elevator inside the Washington Monument briefly broke down on Saturday, park officials said. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Construction on the monument began in 1848 and took nearly 40 years to complete. The private organization that was running the project ran out of funding and construction was halted in 1854 at around 150 feet; that delay was exacerbated by the Civil War.

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Construction resumed in 1879, but builders were forced to use stone from a different quarry — giving the obelisk its distinctive two-tone color. At the time of its completion, it was the tallest building in the world, but was soon overtaken by the Eiffel Tower in 1889.

Fox News' Frank Miles and The Associated Press contributed to this report.