It’s only fitting that on the 4th of July, 200 years after the cornerstone was laid, the Washington Monument in Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon neighborhood was re-dedicated. For more than two years, the monument has been undergoing extensive and expensive renovation and restoration.
Not only was all of the stonework repaired and restored, and the electrical and HVAC systems brought up to date, every square inch of the 180-foot tall monument was inspected. While this was happening, there were several surprises – some good and some not-so-good. Names of the original stone masons were both carved into stone and scribbled on walls. A second and unknown time capsule was discovered. The original cornerstone was found to be intact. And most amazingly, the statue of George Washington that caps the Monument was found to be incredibly detailed – even though the sculptor assumed that no one would or could ever see it closely enough to see them.
Although it rained through the entire ceremony on July 4th, that didn’t dampen the crowd of nearly 1000 who attended the morning dedication. And nearly everyone had on some iteration of red, white and blue clothing, including hats and umbrellas. And the houses surrounding the four squares were decked out in red, white and blue bunting, donated by new neighbor, Hotel Indigo.
The program began, of course, with the Maryland Defense Force band playing our national anthem, and then an address by Henry Holt Hopkins, the President of the Board of the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy. Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake spoke… briefly, due to the rain!
After a countdown, the ribbon was cut and the Fort McHenry Guard’s Fife & Drum Corps played various 19th century military standards, including Yankee Doodle Dandy.
From our vantage point, under a huge umbrella in the first row, it was hard to get good photos of the speakers, except for the tippy-tops of their heads! But it was fun to admire the restored cast iron fence surrounding the Monument and admire the red, white and blue outfits that others were wearing!
To start, the Monument will be open four days a week…to learn the hours, or check out a time to climb…visit mpvconservancy.org, Get a ticket and walk the 288 steps to the top. I guarantee that the view is worth the effort!
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