Washington Monument State Park
Front view of the Washington Monument located in the Washington Monument State Park
|Nearest city:||Boonsboro, Maryland|
|Area:||104 acres (42 ha)|
|Governing body:||State (Maryland Department of Natural Resources)|
|Added to NRHP:||November 3, 1972|
Built in 1827, it was the first monument to George Washington to be completed. The Baltimore Washington Monument was completed two years later, although it had been started considerably earlier in 1815. The famous Washington Monument in the District of Columbia was not completed until 1885. The stone tower was built and dedicated to the first president by the citizens of Boonsboro, Maryland on July 4, 1827. The tower is 34 feet (10.4 m) tall and was built by the citizens of the village of Boonsboro.
On July 4, 1827, at 7 a.m., most of the 500 inhabitants of the town and a Fife and Drum Corps assembled in the public square. A dedication service was held at noon. The volunteers gathered for lunch, and then work was resumed and continued until 4 o'clock, when the monument stood 15 feet (4.6 m) high on a base 54 feet (16 m) in circumference. Plans were made to complete the tower to a height of 30 feet (9.1 m) "after the busy season," and in the fall of that year this was done.
During the Civil War (1862-1865) the monument was used by the Union Army as a signal station. The citizens of Boonsboro also utilized the Monument and surrounding land as a popular meeting place, but over the years, weather and vandalism reduced it to a pile of rubble. In 1882, the restoration of the monument was undertaken and carried out under the sponsorship of the Odd Fellows Lodge of Boonsboro. At this time a canopy was added, and a roadway for vehicles was built up the mountainside to the site. A decade later the rugged tower was marred by the development of a crack in the wall. Because it was not repaired, the monument again fell in ruins.
In 1920, the 1-acre (4,000 m2) site was purchased by the Washington County Historical Society, and in 1934 it was deeded to the State of Maryland for use as a State Park. The tower was rebuilt in its present form by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, who set in place the original cornerstone and a facsimile of the dedication tablet.
The third dedication ceremony was held on July 4, 1936, exactly 109 years after that first day of patriotic activity by the citizens of Boonsboro, which produced the beginnings of the country's first completed monument to George Washington.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Washington Monument State Park
- Washington Monument State Park
- Washington Monument history
- Washington Monument State Park in World Database on Protected Areas
- Washington Monument, Washington County, including photo in 1978, at Maryland Historical Trust website