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Full text of "The history and construction of the George Washington Monument of Baltimore, Maryland."

"TIE HIUEQRY Alffl CONtfLTtUCi'ION OF ffiKE 



OTCBBE T&aill&'JON ilOIJtlL-ETJi 1 jt'J BALi'IUORU, l^BYLANP" 



a ncum phhubmeed to 



tau BSTA. PI 



BUEa CHAPTER OF L/J^LiillD 



BY 



OURIES H. RAHE 



JiJlUJRY 15, 1932 



-2- 
INTRODUCTIOU 

The Washingtun tlonument in Baltimore, Maryland was the first of 
any consequence to be erected to the memory of General George Washington* It 
was due to this fact that the town became known as "The Monumental City" 
early in the nineteenth century. 

This monument is universally admired for its simplicity, dignity, 
proportions, and setting both in the immediate vicinity and as a landmark 
from the various high points of the city. It may be considered as the work 
of a conmunity for the ground it occupies, the material it is made of, and 
the money to raise it was given or raised by the citizens of Baltimore City 
and County* 

Robert Hills of South Carolina who designed the national monu- 
ment to Washington and the Treasury Building in Washington, D.C. also design- 
ed and erected Baltimore's memorial to the first president of the United States. 
Most of the work was completed between the years 1815, when the corner stone 
was laid, and 1829, when the statue of Washington was sue ess fully elevated 
some two hundred feet to the top of the monument. Although one hundred and 
three years old the shaft is in wonderful condition and will prob&bly stand 
for many years to come. 



-3- 



sisvauign and smmouiroiiKS of Momaffiur 



The Washington Monument in Baltimore is situated on the East and 
West dividing line of the city namely Charles street about three quarters of 
a mile above Baltimore Street the North and South dividing line* It is set in 
an open square, some two hundred feet across, on the crest of a hill which 
overlooks part of the city to the South and East. 

Radiating from the monument in the cardinal directions are four 
squares, the two on the right and left forming l.ount Vernon Place and the 
other two Washington Place* The South or Washington Square as it is known 
leads to a natural valley through which runs Centre Street* It originally 
contained a series of steps and landings only but now a statue of Lafayette 
adorns one end of it* The plans called for the manorial to the Frenchman 
to be placed in Mount Vernon Place and after thu World War tlarshal Jof fre 
visited Baltimore and attended the ceremony of breaking ground for the 
Lafayette statue at the eastern end of Lount Vernon Place. In some way 

past explaining the base was placed direct Iv below the monument where it 

) 

remained for some time without the statue. One morning the Sunpsper ran a 
cartoon that showed two soldiers gazing at the empty base, exclaiming 
"Hare we are Lafayette, but where in the hell are you?" Finally in 1924 a 
bronze by Andrew O'Connor was unveiled* Iafavette may be moved yet so as 
not to break the approach to the monument* 

The eastern square which is the quietest one of them all, con- 
tains two statues. One of George Peabody and one of Severn Teackle Wallis 
who played such a large part in the history of Baltimore* At the end of a 
balustrade are two snail bronzes, by Barye, Order and Force* The western 



-4- 

squere is similar in appearance the two small bronzes being Peace and War. 

1'he buildings in the vicinity are for the most part ola resid- 
ences of diginity. Tho Peabody Conservator-/ occupies a petition southeast 
of the monument whilo liount Vernon L.E. Church is northeast. Before tho 
church was built the house In which Franc 1b Scott He^ diea, occupied the 
ground. 

A few years ago raaical landscape changes were made in Mount 
Vernon and Washington Places but whether they were for better or worse is 
a matter of opinion. r Jha Square was considured not only one of the most beau- 
tiful localities of Baltimore but also of the World's great cities. As 
Warren Brown, art editor of the Baltinore News, wrote. "Che fact remains 
that the old arrangement haa a charm, a quietuue, as it wore, an intimate 
restfulnosa that waa entirely its own and that was therefore unique." 



-ii- 



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S2A5UBS III ajIftHBS 

(1) lafayette 

(2) George Peabody 

(3) Severn Teackle mill a 

(4) Roger B. 2aney 



(5) John 3ager Howard 

(6) Military Courage 

(7) Bar^e 



— q — 



MO.Y HISSORY 



When the old Court House at the present site of Calvert and Fay- 
ette Streets was demolished, prominent people who made their residence In that 
part of the city were alarmed with the thought that an unsightlv building 
would to raisod In its place. r Jo prevent this these people decided to erect 
a monuncmt to George Washington who wa3, as yet, not remembered bv one. 

^hree men, wimalrr John Camogys, James A* Buckanan, and David 
Winchester, representing these people petitioned Legislature for permission 
to raise mono*? b^ lottery to finance this manorial. On January 6, 1810, by 
an act of the General Assamblv, the lottery was legalised and a Board of 
llanogors consisting of twenty-three persons created. r Jhe financing; and erect- 
ion of the monument was placed in the hands of this body, which imrce^dietelv 
proposed the "Washington lonwaent Lottery" with thirty-five thousand tickets 
at ten dollars a ticket. Five hundred dollars of the fundv thus raised was set 
aside as a prize for a v/inning design of the monument to be. 

It was at this point of tho story, however, that the War of 1812 
with Great Brltian intervened so the project was cropped for the tiir.e being. 
Aft or ths battle of Worth Pftint on Sapt ember 12, 1814 it was announced that 
the prise winning design had been sub&itted b*r r 'cbert Hills, an architect 
from South Carolina who was the pupil of the Baltimore architect 3.H. Latrobe 
When it became known that the plr.ns called for a monument two hundred and four 
feet high tho citisens ooclnrod that such n column could not stana for long 
and would eventually fall anu cause serious damage. It was finally dec idea to 
orect a smaller noi.orial at the chosen site, in honor of the soluiers who had 
saved the city fron the British at the battle of Lorth Point ana to select a 
new spot for the Washington column. 






-7- 



Jo)in Imager Howard, an officer in the Revolutionary \lar and sub- 
sequently Governor of l.aryland who then ownea most of Baltimore, offered the 
Board of Lanogers as much land as was nooaud on the top of a hill in Howards 
Woods. At that time the city Units wore a half of a mile South of the spot 
donated. r Jhe actual construction of the monument was then started and Bob art 
Li lis, the designer, was placed in charge of operations. John liager Howard's 
example was followed ejr General Charl-js Ridgaly of Hampton who gave the mar- 
ble to construct the base, the cutting being done by William Steunrt. This 
garble was obtained from quarries in the neighborhood of Baltimore. 

By IB lb ever "thing was ready for the laying of the corner stone 
for which elaborate plans were prepared. "On Independence Da" the corner 
stone was laid bv state ana city officials before a crowa. of over twenty- 
five thousand. Nearby was a likeness of 'the deceased hero and sage* by 
Rembrandt Peale ana beneath it a painting of the monument to be erected." 
This painting b*r Peale was later purchased by the United States & overran ant 
and now is at the national Capital. "A salute of thirty- nine guns indicated 
the age of the country, 1'he Masons held their rich rituals and music gave 
color to the ceremon"?. Finally t.no hundred gunB were fieed, closing with 
threo volleys from the entire line of infantr" present. During the evening 
fireworks from Fort licllenrw and Columbian Gardens illumined the sky." A 
copper plate deposited in the stone v/as engraveu on one side with the foll- 
owing words; 

"On the 4 th of July /t.D. 161b, was laid this 
Foundation Jtone 
Of a monument to be erected to the manor" of George Washington^ 

Cn the reverse side was engraved* 



-a- 



"Iianag^rs John Comegys, Washington Hall, Janes A. Buckanan, 

Lemuel "ay lor, Robert Gilnor, Jr., &eorge Hoffman, Isaac McKim, Tidward J. 
Coala, William H. Winder, Janes Patriate, David Winchester, Nicholas 0. 
Riagelv, Fielding Lucas,Jr., Robert Miller, Janes Calhoun, Jr., Nathani4 
F. Williams, Jamas Cocke, Levi Hollingsworth, John Frick, William Srmn, 
James Williams, Benjamin K. l.illiken, Jouoa Barroli. 

Eli ainpkins, Secretary Robert Mills, Architect. 'J?he site 
presented b»T John "Firmer Hovrard, "Esquire, Howard Johnson, Mavor of the 
City." 

A sealed glass bottle containing a likeness of Washington, 
his valedictorv addresses, the newspapers printed in the city, and the 
coins of the United States was also deposited with the copper plate. On 
the stone was engraved; — "William Steuart and ^honas Vowson, ytona Cut- 
ters; Jater Stevenson, Utona 1 ason." 

£he construction of the monument then preceded the money 

being obtained from the sale of the lotter« tickets. In 1824 the lottery 
privelege was given up b^ the Board of Managers, as it interfered with the 
state lottery system, but only on the condition that they should receive 
annually from the treasurer of the Western Shore the surplus of the state 
lotteries over and above the clear sum of twelve thousand dollars. In 1827 
this was changed so that the managers received any sun, not execeeding 
twenty thousand ao liars received from the state lotteries. At the same time 
the state took over the monument as it's own ana directed that the inscrip- 
tion placea upon It be expressive of the gratitude of the state of Maryland. 
3y 182U finances had again run so low that the treasurer of the Western Shore 
issued script to the amount of twenty thousand dollars at five per centum, 
redeemable at pleasure, ^hus we see that the monument was depended on money 
received from lotteries which are today prohibited in this country but wore 

then T?ell received as evidenced b*r the fact tw t ,1 ^ . 

mu jult; that ali public enterprises 



-9- 

and oven churches waro built with raoney from that source. It is recorded 
that one winter when things were evidently dull a lottery was opaned to pro- 
vide "funds for atw unaor taking earl'? in th« spring. " 



-10- 



LaTKH HISTOHT 



The veur l^lb brought the one hundredth anniversary of the lay- 
ing of the corner stone of Washington's Monument, so it was onlv right and 
fitting that what hod been such a colorful ceremony should be coranemo rated 
by a centennial celebration* On this occasion n bronse tablet that was erec- 
ted in a niche opposite the west entrance was dedicated, This tablet giving 
the history of the rumument, was prepared b*r Dr. and Irs. Arthur B* Bibbins, 
Baltimore historians who are particularly interested in the monument toaav. 
This tablet which was worked in bronze by Hans Sehui^r contains the following 
inscription: 

"1615 — — lyli) 
This Lonument 
is the first erected b^ anv city or state 
In honor of 
George Washington 



The corner stcne was laid with impresaive ceremonies bv the Grand 
Lodge, .ancient Free and Accepted Lnsons, Honorable Levin, Governor of Maryland 
acting as most Worshipful Grand Laster. James &, Buckanan, President of Board 
of Managers; Colonel John ""J. Howard and General aameul iiolth President and 
Vice President of the iioclety of the Cincinnati! of Maryland, and Udward John- 
son, Mavor of Baltimore, were the official witnesses. 

The raising of one hundred thousand dollars by lottery for the 
erection of the monument 1*3 specifically authorized by the Laryland Legisla- 
ture of 1810, but the cost of the monument more than doubled that sum, and 
the amount not raiaed b^ the lottery was contributed by the 3tate and private 



-11- 



individuals, the sane act placed the execution of the entire project in the 
hands of a special board. 

Board of Managers 

John Comegys, Vashington Hall, James A. Buckanan, Leaiuel Baylor, 
Robert Giltiour, Jr., GeorRe Hoffman, Isaac McL'im, Edward J. Goals, William 
H. Winder, James Patricide, David Winchester, Nicholas G. Eidgelv, Fielding 
Lucas, Jr, f Robert tiller, James Calhoun, Jr., Hathaniel F. Williams, James 
Cocke, Levi Hollinf;sworth, John Frick, William Gwrnn, James Williams, Ben- 
jamin H. Milliken, James Barroll. 

"he site was donated b*' Colonel John Tlaqer Howard, "he marble for 
the base b*r General Charles Ridgel'"' of Haripton. 

The Monument was completed in 18 E9. Robert L.ills of iiouth Carolina 
was the architect. His design of the statue executed by Causici, represents 
General Washington resigning hi a commission as Commander- in-chief to Congress 
at AnnapollB. 

'1 resign with satisfaction the appointment I accepted with diffi- 
dence — a diffidence in uv abilities to accomplish so ardurous a task, wich, 
however, was superceded by a confidence in the rectitude of our cause, the 
support of the supremo power of the Union and the patronage of Heaven.* 

George Washington 

This tablet was here placed July*, lyib, in commemoration of the 
centenary of the laying of the corner stone. The Grand lodge of Maryland, 
Ancient free and accepted Masons, General Thomas J. iihryock, 1 .W.G.M., and 
the leading patriotic societies of City and State particlpateu in the attend- 
ant ceremonies. The official record of wich will be found in the City Council 
Journal for the year 1915. 

James H. Preston 
Mayor" 



-12- 



COIIii'JKUC'JIOW 



*3 Eobert Hills had designed the monument, that was selected to 
show Baltimore's appreciation of Washington, he was aligned the task of super- 
vising the actual construction of the Bhaft. From the verv beginning work 
went along smoothl" and any interruptions in it's progress were due to finan- 
cial difficulties and not mechanical ones. By the end of the second y«ar the 
foundation and sub-foundation had been finished, the column started and conV 
inued steadilv up allowing only time for the structure to firmly settle. 

L'he bane of the monument is enclosed by a high iron circular 
railing, one hundred feat in diameter. She base which is fifty feet square 
and twenty- four feet high is construct* d of blocks of white marble which 
were obtained from quarries in the vicinity of Baltimore. 2his material was 
originally noted for it's freenuss from veinings and it is now weathered to 
a beautiful blue grey. On each side a flight of steps, with two bronze trlpoHs 
beside it , leadB to a doorwuy of Doric design* Over the door is a large mor6/c 
block containing in bronze letters the words: 

2o 
George Washington 
By the 
iitate of Maryland 
Lower down and on each side of the entrance are tv/o more inscriptions giv- 
ing important events in his life, they are different for each side. 

Born Died 

22 February 14 December 

17 ?2 1799 




SDJTH OR MAIN ENTRANCE 




3 A ST ENTRANCE 





-13- 






Bast Bide 




Coniwander-in-chi ef 




Corcciission resigned 


of the 




Bt 


American Array 




Annapolis 


15 June 




23 December 


1776 


North side 


1783 


Trenton 




Yorktown 



26 Decstiber 
1776 

President 
of the 

United states 
4 Karen 

i?yy 



r/ast side 



19 October 

1781 

Retired 
to 
l.ount Vernon 
4 March 
i?y? 



By lulb work had progressed far enough to allow the lading of the 
corner stone so cm Julv 4 the elaborate ceremony was perforned. Today however 
the stone cannot be found* It is believed that when Mount Vernon and Washing- 
ton Places ware relandscaped savaral years ago the ground elevntion wae rais- 
ed and the corner stone covered over. It is not known, and no records can be 
found describing, on which corner the stt;ne iwae laid. As the statue faces 
iJouth toward the center of town and the tkmth side is considered the main en- 
trance it is nora than likel*r that the stone is on either the southeast or 
the southwest corner. 

BU^iL' OP VtAimMWR 

As you ant or the south door, which Is the onlv one kept open, 
you see a larga nnrblo bust of Washington set in a niche in the wall of the 



-14- 




till V'Jttrtexn ofowti 'ftijilirltilit b'ii 7j«i ill Ilciiiltinn 

WINTER, MOUNT VERNON PLACE 



-15- 

column. It Is supposed to be the work of the Italian sculptor G-uisippe Cer- 
acchi. Cerncchi received an order from Congress to make a bust of Washington 
as the l3tter tos naaring the end of his first term, The sculptor made three 
of then the first, going to Congress for four thousand dollars. It was destroy- 
ed when the Library of Congress burned in 1015. "he second went to a Spanish 
iinbaseador and the third the artist kept for himself. How it -rver got to ^mer- 
and finally Baltinore is a mystery. 

ERE GOhW.ll 

The column, which is one hundred and sixty feet high and twenty 
feet in diameter at the base, is of unf luted design that reflects the ultra- 
classical tastes of i:ill's day. The interior work is of brick with an outer 
la^er of thick blocks of marble. In the canter is another column of approx- 
imately three f t *et diameter built of solid brick masonry* This central col- 
umn supports the weight of the huge statue and the two hundred and twenty 
steps that wind their way up the monument to the balcony at the top. From 
there one can view the stepped dome and effigy of Washington. TThon finished 
the column was plumbed and the deviation found to bo loss than an eighth of 
an inch. 

In 1824 the scaffolding was removed, an a compliment to Lpfayette 
who visited Bait it tore. During the next two years the marble terraces and 
steps to the four entrances to the base were completed. 

ffBB SEASD3 

In 1927, T'iZls invited a competitive display of models for the 
statue. The commission was given to i.ndrfe Cmisici, a sculptor from Verona 
then working at the national Capitol. A block of white narblo, eeventefsn 
feat long, of required proportions and beautiful quality was contributed 
bv Irs. F. T. P. Baylor of Baltimore County. This block was found in an open 
field, as though waiting for the occasion. Causici worked on the statue for 

two years following the amnions and model of Houdon and developing the de- 





i 




LOOKING WORTH FROM SOUTH 
UARE 




NORTH AND WtiST SIDES 



-16- 



sign of itr. Mills. The block had origionully weighed thirty-six tons, the sta- 
tue in three separate pieces totaled sixteen and a half tons. Causici as it 
neared conpletion boc&me afraid that it could not be raised to the top of the 
monument and was of ton heard to repeat, "one hundred and sixty feet one hun- 
dred and sixty feet*. This was the height that the statue had to "be raised to 
the top of the column Hills however was sure of his calculations and had no 
fears. He was cautioned to spare no expense for machinery and ho did not as 
cordage alone coat then one thousand dollars. 

November 25, 1BS9 saw the raising of the statue to itfe resting 
place. It was elevated by means of a pair of spars attached to the cap uf 
the column, by pulley and capstan, planned and directed "by Captain James D» 
Woodside of Washington B.C. Tradition recalls that as the statue was raised 
to the surmit of the monument, "a shooting star dashed across the sky and an 
eagle lit on the head of the settling general." 

The statue, representing Washington resigning his commission as 
Commander-in-chief of the jitiarican ^rmy at *.nnapolis, 1b a little mora than 
two and a half times life size, it being sixteen feet high. Washington is 
holding a scroll in his extended right hand but an old time negro had his own 
interpretation for that gesture; he said, "tuurse George Washington is p'intin 
South, saying; 'lliggor, go Jouth cause it's a gittin too cold in Ae IJo'th.*" 

The lower terrace of marble slabs, granite footways and marble 
plinth, for the iron railing, were conploted in 1656* Next year the fence 
composed of shields, fusiul columns, and spears was finished thus completing 
the construction of the monument. 

ii>n iron balcony and a broad freizo, running under the cornice 
around the exterior wall of the ground base carrying a series of civic wreathes 
encircling the names of the states then forming the Union, were planned but 



-17- 

oniitted because of lack of funds. 

The no men ant was roc ant 1" inspect od by 'Hngineer of Buildings 
Parr who reported ever;rthing in good condition except the statue, "he joints 
have been washed and opaned by the weathor, and the right aru cracked in sev- 
eral places by lightning. A copper cable had been wrapped around it to » re- 
Tent it from falling if it should b scone completly severed he claims. No re- 
pairs will be undertaken until spring when a scaffold will be erected to 
allow a closer inspection. She monument is now under the Park Board's super- 
vision. 



-18- 




VIKW PROM rthlBT 




VI£V; FRO:,. EAST 



-19- 



BI-C3H f j?KiaiIAL CEHSB3U2IOH OF OTE BIR3I OF G'JOPGE n&£BZBQS0B 



Washington was born in 1732' so February 22, of this year will be 
the two hundredth anniversary of his birth. At that time the whole nation will 
celebrate in his tumor. In Baltimore the llonunent is headquarters for the Bi- 
centennial and already preparations have been started* Pictures of men asso- 
ciated with Washington, notable events In his life, and many others are being 
gathered to hang in the gallery of the monument where they can be viewed by 
all that visit it. 

As the Baltimore column was the first of any consequence to ba 
erected in honor of the "Immortal Washington" members of the Baltimore Phil- 
atelic Society started a movement to have a. picture of the shaft placed on 
some of the postage stamps which the Federal Government is Issuing this year 
to mark the Bi-Centennial. 1'he society met the ninth of January 19S1 and 
drew up a set of resolutions setting forth the reasons for asking that a re- 
presentation of the Baltimore shaft be placed on the Washington stamps. These 
resolution were forwarded to the Postmaster General, the Senators and Con- 
gressman from Maryland, and to other interested persons, Their efforts were 
for naught however as it has been decided to have nothing but portraits of 
Washington placed on the series of twelve stamps. 



-20- 
OTHEK CUXK3 20 DISEIHC3JI0H OF BRB0TIM3 FlHo'J LOlIULiaiT 10 TCuiSIIltGTON 

It may be v/ell to set forth here the claims that the citizens of 
Boonesborough, Maryland have upon the distinction of erecting the first mem- 
orial to General TTaahlngtotw It appears that on July 3, 1827, two rrears be- 
fore the completion of the Baltimore column, some citizens of Boonoabo rough 
went to the summit of iiouth fountain, Washington County Maryland, and began 
the erection of a pile of loose stones* The next day they again assembled at 
7)30 At Um and completed it* At noon they dedicated it to George Washington* 
This pile of stonas \mu fifty-four feet in circxinforencs tit the base and 
stood fifteen feet high. They hoped to raise it to thirty feet later on but 
they never accomplished this* Time and weathor has broke it down and twice 
It had to be rebuilt to preserve the location* The Hagerstown Chamber of 
Conner ce has taken up the matter of persuading Congress to restore it and 
orovide for it*s maintenance. 






BIBLIOGRAPHY 



l)r. and llrs. Arthur B. Bit) Dins 

2600 Maryland ^vo., 
Baltimore, Maryland 

Ur. George Sadler Robertson 

Sec* ijons of the American Revolution 

614 Park Bank Bldg. 

Baltimore, Maryland 

Art in Baltimore — Monuments and Mono rials 
William Saner Rusk 

r Jhe dun 

Baltimore, Maryland 

History of Baltimore 

Dr. Clayton Colman Hall 

History of Baltimore City and County 
J. Thomas Scharf 

2he J'onumentnl City History, Resources, and Biography 

George T7. Howard 

Chronicles of Baltimore 
J. Thomas Scharf 



-22- 

Baltimore Past and Present; 1729—1870 
Brunt a liayer 

Origional Portraits of Washington 
Elisabeth Bryant Johnston 

History of Baltimore, Maryland; 1729 1698 

a. B. Kelson, Publisher 

Henlnl sconces of Baltimore 
Jacob Frey