Golden Anniversary climb
Last time I was in the Baltimore Washington Monument was 1964-65. It was about 25 cents to climb. I remember running up the steps, and also you could go out on the balcony for a great view of water. So while visiting the Maryland Historical Society we wanted to see the reopened monument. It then dawned on me if I did the climb it was fifty years ago, so we did it and my knees were talking to me, but it was beautiful and a job well done by the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy and all concerned. Huzzah.
A Series Of Monumental Moments
My name is Sabrina G. but that wont be for long…….
This is all in part thanks to the magical memories at the Washington Monument and Mt. Vernon Park. In 2010 we moved to a tiny apartment we called our family maker home at the corner of the west park. We spent many afternoons having picnics and enjoying the festivals. When our daughter was born we would often come to the park to picnic and play, we even had our first family photo shoot there despite having moved further up Charles street. Every year as part of our tradition we go to the monument lighting and, for us, it officially marks the beginning of the Christmas season. In 2013, my boyfriend proposed to me on the north end of the park during the monument lighting as the fireworks were firing off. A truly unforgettable moment in my life. In 2015 we went to the monument’s bicentennial and for my birthday got to climb all the way to the top as a family (the view of our city is truly something to witness). Through the years, we have given the parks our own nicknames and they have come to form an important part of our family. This year we will be married in what we affectionately know as wedding park (the south park). Our family started at the west park and has evolved just as the park has through the years. As we take our love through the next stage I could not think of a place more fitting to celebrate. Mount Vernon square is such a special place and I can’t wait to make more memories there as we grow!
The picture I shared was taken by our daughter last year when the park was blossoming.
October 6, 2011 – The day we met
It was a pleasant fall evening, and I had left work a little early to enjoy the last First Thursday concert of the year at Mt. Vernon Place. I was standing next to the fountain enjoying my beer and the music while waiting for my friend who was very late. I saw a boy sitting on the fountain edge. His pant leg was rolled up having just arrived on a bike, and he was eating a burrito. I noticed that he saw me see him, but I went back to enjoying the music without giving it much thought. He was likely meeting friends there, as most people do. Not long after we noticed each other, he approached me and used his gift of gab to introduce himself as Evan Hughes. I found out later that he was inspired to approach me because I had apparently played with my hair, reminding him of a song by the Streets. We immediately connected and spent the rest of the concert together. We ended the evening with a cupcake and an exchange of numbers. Our story continues today as husband and wife, beginning our family in Baltimore. I am so thankful for that lovely evening in the park that so perfectly set up the story of us.
By the fall of 2011 I had been living in Charm City long enough to know it was no misnomer. So much soul in one place can lead you by your nose if you let it. It was just such a flight of fancy that brought me to the square at Mt Vernon that October day. I had been going to First Thursday concerts as long as I’d known that the local radio station invites musicians to haunt the place once a month while the weather is fair. I was initially disinclined to stir from my home in Riverside that evening. But hey, it was the last chance that year to sit among the grand trees and neat buildings that line the narrow park. I had assumed that was the only chance of the evening I would seize. Until I saw her. Rhonda Meitl, was standing not ten paces from my makeshift seat on the fountain. I didn’t know that was her name at the time, or that she was a transplant, brought to Baltimore from fields afar just as I was. Or that she was a person entirely sweet. I didn’t know how good it would feel to hold her hand in a week’s time. I didn’t know that in a year’s time, my best friends would ask me when I was going to marry her, or that we would in fact, marry. And I certainly didn’t know that within four years of walking up to her that evening, we would fall so completely in love with our blue-eyed baby girl named Vera. But that was all before I walked up to her.
Rhonda and Evan Hughes
The Value of a Nickel in the 1970s
I remember climbing the monument a long time ago, but I can’t tell you what year. Probably earlier than 1978 or so.
It was a simpler time then. The price to climb was a nickel, collected by a man sitting at the foot of the stairs. Each step was worn in the middle and it was a tight, dizzying climb with a wonderful reward at the top — unobstructed views in all directions.
I was eager to take my children up when we moved back to Baltimore, but by then, the monument was closed to climbers. So they’ve never seen it.
Washington Monument looking south 1976
When I arrived in Baltimore in 1976 from Massachusetts to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art, I quickly climbed the Washington Monument for a photo (looking south on Charles Street). I lived at 605 Washington place on the left in front of the Peabody Institute.
Playing Hookie at the Flower Mart
The only time I ever played hookie from school was in 1967 when I was in middle school. My best friend and her mother were going to the Flower Mart and invited me along.. I asked my mother if I could take off school that day and go with them but she said no. I think that was one of the few times I ever defied my Mom, I thought she was very unreasonable as I seldom missed a day of school. My friends mother knew I was hooking school but allowed me to go anyway. I remember feeling guilty all day and did not enjoy myself as I thought I would. It was a beautiful day and I never forgot the first time I hooked school or the first time I attended the Flower Mart!
Our Surprise Wedding at the Top of The Washington Monument
My name is David Morreale. In 2003 I worked for a time serving drinks to customers at The Brewer’s Art, a restaurant in Mount Vernon, Baltimore.
I met Alison Gibbons when she came in for a drink after church one Sunday afternoon in late summer of that year.
We went on our first date on Dec. 4, 2003 and got married on Feb. 22, 2004.
We were both living in Mount Vernon, and I knew on our first date that I was going to marry her. We both felt that the Washington Monument was the right place to get married, so when we talked about eloping, we knew that was where we wanted to do it.
So, we invited our mothers, Susan Gabriel and Annie Cahill, her aunt, Mary Sheridan, her cousin, Erin Sheridan, and my sister, Betsy Morreale to brunch at a local restaurant a block from the monument.
There, over coffee and breakfast, we told everyone assembled that, when brunch was over, we were all walking to the top of the Washington Monument so that Alison and I could be married.
The ceremony was conducted inside the monument, on the east side at the top.
Our mothers still complain that we made them walk all the way to the top for the ceremony.
After the ceremony, we called the families and everyone met in Fell’s Point to celebrate.
As I write this, it is 2016, we are happily married and have two sons. Harlan Andrew Morreale, and Wyatt Edward Morreale. We still live in Baltimore, but will move to the country someday. With any luck, both of our beloved sons are still alive as you are reading this, though they may be hard to find, as we intend to travel and live abroad. If they are present, or if they read about this in whatever passes for a newspaper in the world as it is when this is being read, I hope they know that they were loved beyond measure and that their mother and father fell more in love with one another every day.
I am a schoolteacher and Alison, an accountant. I was a musician for most of my life and became a schoolteacher at the age of 48.
And that’s our story.
One of my Favorite Places
My boyfriend James and I moved to Baltimore in 2008, just a few blocks from the monument. We attended every Thursday concert in the park-sipping beer in the grass with friends and letting the dog run around. We never missed a single big floppy hat or lemon stick at the flowermarts. We dug through tons and tons of books with my grandmother during the annual book fairs. And we always enjoyed showing off our neighborhood to visitors by taking them to the Peabody, sneaking into the Engineers Club, and giving them the full history of why George Washington was wearing a toga atop the monument. Some of my favorite memories have happened at picnics, walking tours, and with the smell cherry blossoms all under the shadow of the monument. These types of memories have given us a deep love for not only the monument, but for Baltimore City.
February 26th, my best friend and I used the day to check off a few “to-do” boxes for sites around the city. On the list- walk the monument. It was quite a hike, but waiting for me at the top was James, who left work early to surprise me. He was standing there with our song playing in the background and a sunflower in his hand. We danced, took in the views; then he got down on one knee and asked if I would be his wife.
The monument will forever be one of my favorite places.
James and Brandi, Baltimore City
February 5, 2011
This was shot by a friend for use in our save the dates. We got married in October of that year at the Admiral Fell Inn.
~Laura Plitt & Andrew Fickinger, Brewer’s Hill (formerly Mt. Vernon)
To The Top
Took a climb to the top of the monument. We could see our apartment and all the places in the neighborhood we love from a birds eye view. Beautiful.
My first trip to the Washington Monument
I remember my first ever trip to the Washington Monument in Baltimore which took place in 1996 when me and my elementary school history class took a trip to the Washington Monument, I can’t recall if we climbed to the top or not, but I do remember visiting it from my point of view. I was only 4 at the time and we were learning the history of America’s first president and how much dedication he gave to this great nation that he fathered a country where all Americans dreams come true.
“Residents asked to share stories of Washington Monument” (Feb. 16, 2016, Baltimore Sun)
If memories of the Washington Monument had been collected well over
a century and a half ago and Mary Smith had recorded hers, Baltimoreans
would be treated to the impressions of one of its youngest citizens
(“Residents asked to share stories of Washington Monument” Feb. 16[, 2016, Baltimore Sun]).
Approximately a decade after the monument’s completion in 1829, the
publisher William Raine, a recent arrival from Germany, showed civic pride
when he featured the monument and the surrounding square in color on the
front cover of one of his composition books. Raine allotted space on the
cover for the important printed words. “This Book Is The Property Of” under
which the name “M.H. Smith” has been inscribed in blue ink. Inside the
incomplete notebook an instructress has written words at the top of each
page for her student to copy, the last ones being “mind your teacher Mary
Every time I see the monument, I recall Mary and marvel how despite
our being generations apart, the monument connects us and how each of us in
our own time share a vision of this now historic landmark.
Over one thousand people, including Mayor Latrobe attended the
funeral of William Raine in 1879 celebrating him as “the oldest German
journalist in the United States.” But I will always celebrate him as the
publisher of charming books for young people and children for which he
received scant recognition and especially for his copy book with the
Washington Monument on its cover belonging to Mary Smith.
Linda F. Lapides
[Memory also published in the Baltimore Sun, Feb. 24, 2016.]
My father, Luigi Cedrone, was a stone mason who immigrated to the United States in the early twentieth century from the province of Lazio, Italy. He worked for Baltimore’s highway department and was foreman on the crew that laid the Belgian block that still circles the monument. He did most of the actual work.
Lucille Cedrone, Towson, Maryland
A Cheap Date
1965 and 1966 used to go up to the top of the Monument often. No matter how hot it was, there was a great breeze at the top. It was also a great cheap date. I don’t recall a caretaker. Of course, it’s been 50 years. WOW
Singing at the Flower Mart
Our Western High Madrigal Singers, under the direction of Zenobia Martin Kendig, sang at two or three Flower Marts at the Monument, 1962,3,4.
During High School and College (1963 – 1971) I would go to Pratt Central Library to do research for various assignments. I looked forward to spending a Saturday on an assignment because I could then spend time at the monument. I would walk to the Buttery for a sandwich and then climb the monument. The effort of the climb made this a destination to be savored. Sitting in one of the openings while eating my sandwich I would try to see how many places and neighborhoods I could recognize. It was possible to see how the neighborhoods blended to make up the city. So many street level differences disappeared. I think that I came to appreciate the special feel and diversity of Baltimore during this time. It was easier to see the city as a whole and not fragmented from the top of the monument. The monument let me slow down and appreciate the special beauty and depth of Baltimore – even the austere industrial and scarred areas added to the multiple layers. I’ve seen Baltimore from the new high rise buildings. They cannot compare to discovering the city as a youth with the fresh breeze blowing through the top of the monument. I will always be grateful for that opportunity.
It was my high school “campus”
As a student at Western High when it was at Howard & Centre Sts, my high school years were spent near Mount Vernon Place. I remember climbing to the top of the Washington Monument when it was simply a thing to do with a friend, and performing on the monument steps with the WHS Madrigal Singers at Flower Mart in the early 60s.
Jain Ferdinand (Jani Schwartz WHS ’63)
The Beautiful Lights
My great grandparents have been gone for many years. I am lucky enough to be the oldest great grandchild so I remember them vividly. One of my favorite memories was going to see the lighting of the monument at Christmas time. The monument was Baltimore’s Rockefeller Center. I was just a kid and to kid the monument is amazing. I can remember feeling like monument just had to be the biggest structure in the world and my great grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. Joseph W Johnson, were the best for bringing me to see it.
Best Day Ever with my son Michael
My son and I anticipated the re-opening of the Monument to the public, and when the day finally arrived that we could climb to the top we couldn’t wait to take pictures of the many views of Baltimore. We have thoroughly enjoyed the many videos, pictures and stories of the ongoing preservation and everything that was discovered during the process. Thank you for the opportunity and the adventures!
January 10, 2016
A reluctant trip to the top (“how many steps??”) brought my waterman friend and I to this scene of an impending storm barreling toward us from the north. He was in heaven as watermen tend to be when they can transcend city life to identify with the water and the weather. And yes, we did get soaked as we left the monument!
Playing Hookie at the Monument
It was the Flower Mart in spring of 1970. The end of my 9th grade year I hooked school with my older sister and 2 friends to go to the Flower Mart at Mount Vernon Place. We walked, admiring all the beautiful floral displays. We dodged tv camera crews so our parents wouldn’t see us on the evening news! We sat in the empty fountain basins to listen to the hippies play their instruments and sing. Had our first tastes of peppermint sticks in lemons; delicious! The whole day was delicious! And the Monument watched it all.
A divorced Dad’s Guide to Entertaining Children, 1975-77
My Mom and Dad were separated when I was 4 years old in 1975 and my Dad got an apartment in Mt. Vernon on Biddle Street . His apartment had wooden floors, a huge claw foot tub and the back door opened into a private stone courtyard. Both of my parents were super broke and my Dad, Don Shacochis, had weekend custody of me. Looking for cheap and free things to do around Baltimore included feeding the ducks at the inner harbor, touring the shark submarine, going to the Zoo including the reptile house and climbing the Washington Monument. The Monument in the mid 1970’s was open like a park from dawn til dusk.[…] We would practice counting while climbing the 227 steps to the top. The Baltimore monument was my practice to climb the larger version in Washington D.C. eventually. My father and I enjoyed walking in the parks along Charles street and he would let me roller skate in the parks near Peabody and Mercy Hospital. We enjoyed the Peabody book store, owned and operated by a very eccentric man and eating pancakes at the Buttery Restaurant along side some colorful working people living in the city. I loved visiting with my Dad in Mt. Vernon and watching the bats come out after dark in the summer swarming around the top of the Washington Monument, feeding the pigeons in the park near Peabody and walking to the inner harbor from his apartment on Biddle Street to feed the ducks.
-Cole shacochis Edwards
“The Washington Monument – in Baltimore? I’m afraid you are mistaken Bobby.”
In the early Autumn of 1967 my family traveled from upstate New York to Baltimore for my maternal grandmother’s funeral. I was a six year old first grader and the only member of my immediate family not born in Baltimore. My paternal grandmother, a lifelong Baltimorean, always made certain there was a day trip to see something of interest when we visited. On this particular occasion, I was loaded into the car for a trip to Mount Vernon to see the Washington Monument. Today, I recall climbing the smooth, narrow marble steps inside the monument, but very little else from that visit to Mount Vernon.
Upon our return home to New York, I took the opportunity during Show ‘n Tell to regale my classmates in Mrs. Allen’s first grade class at Delmar Elementary School with the tale of my trip to see the Washington Monument while in Baltimore. Certain that I was misunderstanding exactly where I’d been while visiting the Washington Monument, Mrs. Allen unsuccessfully attempted to to correct my account to say I was in Washington, D.C. to see the Washington Monument. I can only surmise I was less than willing to agree to Mrs. Allen’s geographical correction since she took the time to contact my parents so I could be advised that my trip to see the Washington Monument would have been to D.C., as that is where the monument to our first president is located. My soon-to-be 88 year old mother recalls Mrs. Allen was not entirely pleased to be told, the six year old kid is correct – he did visit the Washington Monument in Baltimore, Maryland – which is in fact, the FIRST Washington Monument ever dedicated to President Washington.
I don’t recall ever revisiting this issue with Mrs. Allen during the remainder of the school year. The following summer, my family relocated back to Baltimore, the home of the ORIGINAL Washington Monument.
School trip to the Monument
My first visit to the Monument was in the early 1950s on a school outing. I participated with my classmates in an impromptu race to see who could reach the top first. I remember coming in a close second and not even being out of breath. After sixty years, I expect my dash to the top might take a little longer. and result in some heavy breathing!
Henry H. Hopkins, Baltimore