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Washington Monument

The Washington Monument was the first major architectural memorial to George Washington – the first President and Commander-in-Chief of the United States. This white marble structure is located on Charles Street, a dozen blocks north of Baltimore's Inner Harbor, at Mount Vernon. In 1799, ten years after the president’s death, the people of Baltimore approached the Maryland General Assembly to seek permission to hold a lottery. The aim was to raise enough funds for the construction of the monument. A design competition was conducted and Robert Mills, a prominent architect of the early 1800s, submitted the winning design. The monument was proposed to be built at Calvert and Fayette Streets, where the Battle Monument now stands. Nearby residents, fearing that a 160-foot high column might fall on their houses, resisted the plan. As a solution, Colonel John Eager Howard, a Revolutionary War hero, came forth to donate his land for the monument. In 1815, construction on the site, then called Howard's Woods, was begun, and it was completed by 1829. The four cross-shaped park area, including East and West Mount Vernon Place and North and South Washington Place, and the houses that line them form an elegant setting for the monument. The 19th-century marble monument rises 178 feet and consists of three parts - rectangular base, a plain Doric column, and a standing figure of Washington dressed in a Roman toga. The ground floor holds a museum which highlights information about Washington, as well as the construction of the monument. The square base is inscribed with Washington's Revolutionary War victories and is fenced with ornate Roman fasces and arrows. Visitors can climb up the 228 steps, which lead to the top of the monument, and enjoy an awe-inspiring view of the city.