The iconic Washington Monument on the National Mall has reopened after a three-year, $15 million renovation.
First lady Melania Trump took part in the reopening ceremony Thursday as school children crowded around, then headed to the top of the famous tower in the "first ride" on the newly renovated elevator, CBS News reported.
The 555-foot-tall marble obelisk, a popular tourist destination that dominates the capitol's skyline, was damaged in a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in 2011. Following repairs on dozens of cracks, it reopened but closed again in 2016 when an elevator cable snapped.
Part of the repairs included a permanent security screening building.
"The new glass and steel facility will offer full ballistic and blast protection and includes queuing space for 18-20 visitors at a time, screening equipment, an accessible restroom for National Park Service and US Park Police staff and a security office," according to a news release for the NPS, CNN reported.
The soaring tower, once the tallest structure in the world, was named after the nation's first president and built in two phases between 1848, when construction first started, and 1884 when the famous landmark was completed.
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