The Washington Monument is one of the best-known symbols of America, and its elevator has been acquiring a reputation of its own: for not working.
It shut down Motzoei Shabbos, leil Tisha B’Av, and then it balked again Sunday morning.
On Motzoei Shabbos, 73 visitors were brought down the stairs after the elevator got stuck between the 490- and 500-foot levels. It was the result of computer issues associated with the control system, said National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst.
On Sunday, the elevator began running at 9 a.m. as scheduled, but it stopped when a circuit breaker tripped, Litterst said.
He said it was restarted to bring down about 50 visitors. Then the monument closed to allow technicians to find the root of the problem. It was unclear whether the monument would reopen Monday.
It was only last month that the elevator was shut down for six days, for repairs to the lifting mechanism and for maintenance.
Before that, a May shutdown was ascribed to power problems. That shutdown appeared to be at least the seventh in a little more than a year, for a variety of causes.
When the elevator is out, the monument closes, depriving tourists of what for many is a must-do activity. The observation deck, 500 feet above the ground level, offers a panoramic view of the city and suburbs.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Martin Weil