Thursday, June 23, 2011

USA - Maryland - Washington Monument and Mt. Vernon Place

Baltimore, Maryland.
The first Washington Monument to be begun and the first of importance to be completed. Walters Art Gallery is in the left foreground, and the Mt. Vernon Place Church and Peabody Institute to the right of the Monument are important landmarks visible.

Sent by Kristin, a postcrosser from USA.

This is from Wikipedia : The Washington Monument in the elegant Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland was the first architectural monument planned to honor George Washington.

In 1815, a statue was 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. Its neighbors include the Peabody Institute.

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.

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 Vendôme, 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, 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 (Boonsboro, Maryland), near the Appalachian Trail, was constructed in 1827, making it the first such in the nation.

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. A driver ran a 1997 Chrysler van through the southeast corner on October 30th, 2010 and damaged roughly 15 feet of the fence.

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

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