Washington Monument lights up again

The Washington Monument will light up again at 8 p.m. on July 8. Photo: Jeff Goldberg

It might not be the history lesson Betty Haaland hoped for when she had to hold off on a trip to the top of the Washington Monument.{ } But now, she and her family are instead looking to see it in a whole new light.

As the sun went down Monday evening, the 500-foot icon lit up as 488 lights illuminated the illustrious landmark that has been closed off since the 5.8 magnitude earthquake rocked the region in 2011.

"There was actually a lot more damage done than thought," said Caroline Cunningham, president of the Trust for the National Mall. "Once we got the scaffolding up we were able to see the damage behind the bricks."

Spectators are now left to admire the monument from afar. But starting from Monday night, it’s at least a much prettier view.

"You know, it gives you something to look at since you can't go in," said D.C. resident Andres Alamaida. "You can at least appreciate the aesthetic value."

The $15 million worth of damage sustained to the 90-ton structure is still being repaired, and work will continue well into the next year.