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Events and Exhibits

43rd Annual Monument Lighting and MdHS Open House

An image of the Washington Monument from Mayor Schaefer's 1973 holiday card. Original pen and ink drawn by Baltimoer artist Betty Wells. Ephemera, Series I, MdHS

An image of the Washington Monument from Mayor Schaefer’s 1973 holiday card. Original pen and ink drawn by Baltimoer artist Betty Wells. Ephemera, Series I, MdHS

Like so much of the City of Baltimore, the annual monument lighting bears the stamp of Mayor William Donald Schaefer. Schaefer, mayor from 1971 to 1987, got the inspiration for the idea following a trip to Indianapolis in 1972, when the beauty of the city’s monuments and statues aglow in holiday lights left him in awe.* Before the annual tradition began here in Baltimore, local garden clubs had been decorating Mount Vernon Square and the Washington Monument with greenery, as can be seen below.

This photograph by A. Aubrey Bodine shows the greenery that the graden club decorated the base of the monument with in 1962, 10 years before the first lighting. BCLM, B391-F, MdHS

This photograph by A. Aubrey Bodine shows the greenery that the garden club decorated the base of the monument with in 1962, ten years before the first lighting. BCLM, B391-F, MdHS

The Maryland Historical Society will be having an open house tonight to coincide with the 43rd monument lighting here in Mount Vernon. Come join us for food, decorations, and a performance by the Notre Dame Institute’s choir. There’s even a rumor that Santa Claus himself may be showing up. The museum will be free and open to the public- see you there!

*At this point I see absolutely no evidence that they stole our football team in retaliation for our appropriation of their decorating ideas.

Sources:

“Washington Monument Gets Holiday Look at Mayor’s Bidding,” Baltimore Sun, December 14, 1972.

“Deck the Streets,” Baltimore Sun, December 18, 1963.

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