US Billionaire Gives $7.5 Million to Fix Washington Monument

Posted January 19th, 2012 at 11:35 am (UTC-5)
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An American billionaire is donating $7.5 million needed for repairs to the Washington Monument, which was damaged in an earthquake last year.

The gift from businessman David Rubenstein matches federal funds Congress approved in December.

A statement from the U.S. Department of the Interior quotes Rubenstein as saying reopening the 169-meter-tall monument will help ensure that people get to learn more about American history.

Rubenstein is a co-founder of the Carlyle Group, a global asset management firm, and is known to be a history buff .

The Washington Monument is one of the most famous U.S. landmarks, a towering presence in the heart of the nation's capital since its completion in 1884.

An earthquake on August 23 last year damaged the granite-and-marble obelisk, with the worst of the cracks at the monument's pyramidal top section.

Video from the visitors' gallery near the top showed the structure shaking violently, with debris falling on tourists and staff. The monument has been closed to the public since the earthquake. Repairs are expected to take one year.