Washington Monument Baltimore
Public Art: Washington
Sculptor: © Enrico Causici
Architect: © Robert Mills
Description: If only I could have seen it under the
scaffolding!! The Washington Monument was the built in honor of the first President of the United States,
George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799). The monument, which stands on the highest point of
Baltimore , Mt Vernon, consists of a low ground floor marble room (now a museum) from which a 178
feet (54 m) Cockeysville white marble Doric column rises. Atop the column stands a statue of a Roman toga
wearing Washington. There are 228 climbing stairs inside the column that will lead you up and to a magnificent
view of the city. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints during the time of building some of
the original Mills design had to be compromised and simplified.
Date Unveiled: 1829
Cost : $100,000
Location: The Washington Monument is located at 600 N
Charles St, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Why Is George Washington Wearing A Roman Toga? :
It is quite the shock to see George Washington depicted in a toga instead of a military uniform but
obviously not to sculptor Enrico Causici. Causici saw a similarity between Washington and the Roman general Lucius
Quinctius Cincinnatus (519 – 430 BC) the toga-wearing soldier who refused to become emperor of Rome.
Here are the two similar events.
In 458 BC, following an invasion by rival tribes of the Aequians, Sabines, and Volscians, General
Cincinnatus was called to Rome and named Dictator but two weeks later, after defeating the enemies , he resigned
and went back to his farm. This action, despite having near-absolute authority, has often been cited as an example
of outstanding leadership and service to the greater good.
In 1783, when Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States following the
Revolutionary War, Washington disbanded his army and then on December 23rd he resigned his commission as
But here is where Causici got it a little wrong, Washington, unlike Cincinnatus, did
not turned down the offer to be king instead of the first president of the United States. That was
just a myth.
One must be grateful that Causici was not influenced by sculptor Denis Foyatier's Cincinnatus
statue or George Washington might just have been depicted naked, with a toga draped over his shoulder!
Things You May Not Know About Baltimore's Washington
Monument: The Washington Monument in Baltimore was the first architectural monument planned
to honor George Washington, and is also the oldest surviving one. Unfortunately, it took from 1815 - 1829 to
complete, making the Boonsboro tower in Maryland officially the first to be completed (1827) but has since been
In 1826 a competition was held to find a sculptor to create the George Washington statue. The
winning entrant was Italian sculptor Ernrico Causici, who wanted to depict Washington resigning his commission as
Commander -in-Chief of the Continental Armies in 1783. The 16ft statue was made in three parts and required rigging
specialist Captain James D Woodside to excute the tricky task of hoisting it up onto the 160 foot column.
Robert Mills also designed the Washington Monument in Washington DC but the design was also
later modified significantly when construction resumed following the Civil War.
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."
From William Rusk's book, Art in Baltimore: Monuments and Memorials.
Before Baltimore built skyscrapers, ships entering the harbor could see the monument. In fact, The
Washington Monument is mentioned in Herman Melville's novel 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 granduer beyond which few mortals will go."
The monument was closed in June 2010 due to safety concerns and has yet to reopen. It is currently
going through a $5million renovation which should be completed by the 4th of July, 2015. Just my luck that I could
only get a scaffolding shot.
On October 30th, 2010, a driver ran a 1997 Chrysler van through the southeast corner of the
iron fence which was designed by Mills in 1838 . The van damaged about 15 feet of it.