Washington Monument (Baltimore)


Washington Monument (Baltimore)

The Washington Monument in the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland was the first architectural monument planned to honor George Washington. [cite web | last = | first = | year = | url =http://www.examiner.com/a-865676~Monuments__Washington_s_perch_in_Baltimore_s_sky.html | title =Monuments: Washington’s perch in Baltimore’s sky | format = | work = | publisher = The Baltimore Examiner| accessdate =2007-08-08 ]

History

In 1815 a statue designed by Robert Mills who also designed the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., construction began in 1815 and was completed by 1829. The 178 foot doric column holds a ground-floor museum offering information about Washington as well as construction of the monument. Climbing the 228 steps to the top provides an excellent view of the city from the historic neighborhood where it is located.

The glorification of Washington began long before his death in December 1799, and the dedication of a memorial in his honor seemed certain. A monument honoring Washington in Baltimore was first proposed in 1809, and a committee was formed to commission and fund the monument. In 1811, the first of six lotteries, authorized by the Maryland General Assembly, was held, eventually raising enough funds to construct a Washington monument in Baltimore. Mills's design was chosen in an architectural competition in 1815, and the cornerstone laid on July 4 of that year. [Dorsey, John & Dilts, James D., "Guide to Baltimore Architecture" (1997) p. 116. Tidewater Publishers, Centreville, Maryland ISBN 0-87033-477-8]

Early designs included rich ornamentation, six iron galleries dividing the hollow shaft into seven sections, and a quadriga surmounting the column. The design of the completed column is very similar to the Colonne Vendome, which ultimately derived from Trajan's Column and was adopted in this time of Neoclassicism in American architecture.

The monument, which was constructed of white marble from Cockeysville, [Dorsey, John & Dilts, James D., "Guide to Baltimore Architecture" (1997) p. 116. Tidewater Publishers, Centreville, Maryland ISBN 0-87033-477-8] rises 178 feet and consists of three main elements: a low, rectangular base containing a museum; a plain, unfluted column; and, atop the column, a standing figure of Washington. By the time of the monument's completion in 1829, financial constraints had forced a series of design compromises which simplified the monument.

William Rusk, in his book "Art in Baltimore: Monuments and Memorials", tells the following story about the raising of Italian sculptor Enrico Causici's marble statue of Washington in 1829. "Tradition recalls a prodigy occurring when the statue was raised to the summit of the monument - a shooting star dashed across the sky and an eagle lit on the head of the settling general."

Before the monument could be completed, the monument which now resides in Washington Monument State Park was constructed in 1827.

The iron fence around the base was designed by Mills and added in 1838. It contains some of the symbolism that had been deleted from the column due to cost considerations. [Dorsey, John & Dilts, James D., "Guide to Baltimore Architecture’"(1997) p. 117. Tidewater Publishers, Centreville, Maryland ISBN 0-87033-477-8]

Lead paint in the interior of the monument was removed in 1985-92.

Cultural References

The monument is referenced by Herman Melville (as Ishmael) in Chapter XXXV (The Mast-Head) of Moby-Dick, "Great Washington, too, stands high aloft on his towering main-mast in Baltimore, and like one of Hercules' pillars, his column marks that point of human grandeur beyond which few mortals will go."

*In the show Ace of Cakes the star Duff does the ceremonial lighting of the Monument. He was quoted in saying that Baltimore's monument was first, better, cooler, and lights up.

*In 2007, "Rad II: The Matthew Modine Challenge" [http://www.butterteam.com/2007/09/rad-ii-matthew-modine-challenge.html] was filmed on and around the monument grounds. The trailer for the 2008 release features a training montage centered around reaching the top of the monument.

References

ee also

*Washington Monument State Park
*List of monuments dedicated to George Washington
*List of statues

External links

* [http://www.wam.umd.edu/~jlehnert/welcome.html Mount Vernon Place history]
* [http://www.mdhs.org/library/Z24BaltMon.html Maryland Historical Society pictures of Baltimore monuments]


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