Baltimore Neighborhoods

A Pictorial Tour of the Washington Monument (under renovation)

Underbelly staffers Eben Dennis and Joe Tropea were recently invited by Lance Humphries, chairman of the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy Restoration Committee, to tour the Washington Monument as work on the restoration project was winding down. Along with the many historical facts they learned, amazing views they took in, and vertigo they experienced, Dennis and Tropea came away with something neither expected: a profound respect and appreciation for scaffolding. JD Belfield Enterprises deserves to be commended for their fine work. Anyone in doubt should scroll down to see what used to pass for scaffolding as recently as the 1970s and ’80s.

Washington Monument under Scaffolding

Washington Monument under scaffolding on a beautiful August morning. (Photo by Joe Tropea, 2014.)

Our tour begins in the underbelly of the monument.

Underneath the Washington Monument. (Photo by Joe Tropea, 2014.)

Underneath the Washington Monument. (Photo by Joe Tropea, 2014.)

We found some very interesting 19th century graffiti.

under_jt_7

An aristocrat? Underneath the Washington Monument. (Photo by Joe Tropea, 2014.)

under_jt_6

J.W. Hogg, 1829. One of many people who signed their names on this wall. Underneath the Washington Monument. (Photo by Joe Tropea, 2014.)

And then we saw this.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Underneath the Washington Monument.  (Photo by Joe Tropea, 2014.)

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Underneath the Washington Monument. (Photo by Joe Tropea, 2014.)

Back to the surface where we take an elevator ride, but then still have to climb three stories to reach the top.

Washington Monument under Scaffolding. Notice the remarkably sturdy elevator on the right. (Photo by Joe Tropea, 2014.)

Washington Monument under scaffolding. Notice the remarkably sturdy elevator on the right. (Photo by Joe Tropea, 2014.)

It’s hard to imagine that this used to pass for safe scaffolding.

PP177.2112 Washington Monument under repair

Washington Monument under repair, c. 1975-1985. Photo by Richard Childress, PP177.2112, MdHS.

Or this.

Washington Monument under repair, c. 1975-1985. Photo by Richard Childress, PP177.2111, MdHS.

Washington Monument under repair, c. 1975-1985. Photo by Richard Childress, PP177.2111, MdHS.

All of the marble used on the monument was locally sourced. The base that the Washington statue sits on came from here:

Beaver Dam Quarry in Cockeysville is the source  of the marble used in the Washington Monument. Beaver Dam Quarry, c. 1910, photographer unknown. CC1003, MdHS. (Reference photo)

Most of the marble came from General Charles Ridgely’s quarry in Hampton, but the 15 foot piece used to carve Washington came from Mrs. Taylor’s quarry.
Beaver Dam Quarry, c. 1910, photographer unknown. CC1003, MdHS. (Reference photo)

Those aren't bird droppings on Washington's face. Washington Monument Closeup. (Photo by Eben Dennis, 2014.)

Closeup of Washington Monument. (Photo by Eben Dennis, 2014.)

The lightening rod attached to Washington's head. (Photo by Joe Tropea, 2014.)

The lightening rod attached to Washington’s head. (Photo by Joe Tropea, 2014.)

Top of the monument looking north. (Photo by Joe Tropea, 2014.)

Top of the monument looking north. (Photo by Joe Tropea, 2014.)

View from the Washington Monument, looking south. (Photo by Joe Tropea, 2014.)

View from the Washington Monument, looking south. (Photo by Joe Tropea, 2014.)

Discussion

2 Responses to “A Pictorial Tour of the Washington Monument (under renovation)”

  1. Hi Mr. Tropea- I want to find out if your new movie “Sickies Making Films” is available to buy on a DVD? I teach a non-credit course on the History of Movies and Censorship at a local community college in NJ and I want to see if your movie might be useful as part of my upcoming course. Thanks.
    Kind regards,
    Gary Warga
    P.S. I do not use facebook or twitter, only e-mail.

    Posted by Gary Warga | 17. Jul, 2018, 2:08 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] This Independence Day weekend, Baltimore celebrates the rededication of its most recognizable landmark, the Washington Monument. The Mount Vernon Place Conservancy is hosting the Monumental Bicentennial Celebration on Saturday, July 4th, a festival to honor the reopening of the nation’s first memorial to George Washington. The monument has been closed to visitors since 2010, when it was deemed structurally unsound, and has been undergoing extensive restoration work to repair masonry and cosmetic issues since the fall of 2013. [...]

Post a comment

Facebook

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On Pinterest