Why is the washington Monument off-axis (N/S)

Looking at the overhead layout of DC you can see that the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol lie on a perfect east-west line. The White House and the Jefferson Memorial lie on a perfect north-south line.
Where these lines intersect are the grounds of the Washington Monument. However the monument itself while lying on the east-west line does not touch the north-south line and misses it by (50-100?) yards.
Why didn’t they build it directly at this intersection?

(some googling says something about poor soil conditions but I can’t tell how reliable that is)

Because the Jefferson Memorial didn’t exist when they plotted the site for the Washington Monument, so no line was established with the White House?

True. But I still wonder why it wasn’t built due south of the White House.

It’s not like we’re building Washington DC as some sort of coded architecture for future generations to decode.

Although that would be awesome.

It’s probably due to Washington’s sage counsel that we avoid entangling alignments.


If you look at this map (warning GIANT JPEG!) of Washington in 1839, you’ll note that most of the area that is now The Mall west of the White House was part of the Potomac River (what is now Constitution Ave. was a canal), so it is perhaps not surprising that the Monument could not be built at the optimal spot.

We are. The information is encoded in the deviations from perfect alignment. To make an analogy to radio, the different “perfect” lines are the carrier waves and the deviations are the modulations containing the information.

That’s the most I can say on a public forum.

That’s actually more than you can say. What you thought you said has been changed. Say more, and you will be silenced.

From Encyclopedia Britannica:

The ground at the desired location was just too soft to support the monument.

Actually, it seems that the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol do not lie on a perfect East-West axis - the center of the Capitol is a hundred yards or so to the north of the center of the Lincoln Memorial.
Easy check - find one of the two in google maps , line it’s center up with the top of the map, and scroll east (or west).

If this deviation were strong enough, one might say that in fact it is the Jefferson Memorial that was built off-axis, but no, that’s not the case - the angle formed by WH-WM-LM is still acute.

“Worthy of the Nation-The History of Planning for the National Capital”, by Gutheim, Frederick, Consultant for the National Capital Planning Commission, Frazier, Samuel K., Jr., andSpiegel, Ruth W., 1977 © Smithsonian Institution on page 51, substantiates that the siting of the monument, begun in 1848, off the straight line axis resulted from fears of foundation problems on the former agricultural land.

That’s where the treasure is buried.

Obligatory lyrics reference follows - warning: ear-worm!

“Turned the stone and looked beneath it…
‘Peace on Earth’ was all it said.”