San Jacinto Monument Reopens

Just in time for Labor Day weekend, the Museum of History at the San Jacinto Monument reopens tomorrow, after two years of major rehabilitation and safety renovations. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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The work inside the 67 year old year old monument started two years ago when the elevator to the observation deck was closed for modifications to bring it up to modern fire safety codes. Museum of History President Larry Spasic says the elevator cab has been modernized, and the elevator shaft has been sealed to keep smoke from going all the way up and endangering people on the observation deck.

"They encased the elevator shaft with fireproof materials all the way up to the fourth floor, where it was capped, so that no smoke or toxins could rise above that floor."

The Museum of History in the monument has been closed all year because of the work in the elevator shaft, but Spasic says it's all complete now, and the monument is ready to reopen to the public tomorrow. He says that's not a minute too soon for him and his staff.

"We have never closed our doors since opening them in April of 1939. But we felt this was an important enough issue to approach the legislature with the funding needed to make these changes."

The legislature appropriated a little over two million dollars for the repairs, and several companies and private foundations chipped in several hundred thousand. At 567 feet, the San Jacinto Monument is the tallest stone monument in the world, and it's located in San Jacinto State Park off State Highway 225 in east Harris County. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.

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