- (Reuters/Gary Hershorn)
The Washington Monument and National Cathedral suffered damage from the Virginia earthquake yesterday, and both iconic monuments were closed to visitors today.
“Three of four pinnacles (corner spires) on the central tower have been damaged,” a statement released by the National Cathedral said, and several cracks on decorative parts of the exterior façade have also appeared.
The Washington Monument suffered cracking near the top of the obelisk and the National Park Service will have structural engineers evaluate the cracks today to determine the best way to make repairs before reopening, according to the NPS website.
No injuries occurred near the monuments during the quake, but damage is still being assessed and could pose a danger to visitors.
"A lot of what fell, we're fortunate that it fell in toward the roof and not out toward the streets," said Mason Joe Alonso in a video released by the National Cathedral.
"The Cathedral structure was damaged in today's earthquake," said Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III. "But we are thankful that no injuries have occurred. Our prayers go out now for all those up and down the East Coast who have been similarly affected by this rare event.”
The Cathedral, which has been host to state funerals, presidential memorial services, and presidential inaugural prayer services, is currently soliciting donations on its website to repair the damages. It is the sixth-largest cathedral in the world, second-largest in the United States, and tallest structure in Washington, D.C.
It also deems itself the “spiritual home for the nation” and “a catalyst for spiritual harmony in our nation, renewal in the churches, reconciliation among faiths, and compassion in our world.”
Next year will be the 100th anniversary of the Cathedral.
The 555-ft. tall Monument offers views from more than thirty miles and was finished on December 6, 1884.