Who Would Have Guessed? The Original Washington Monument is Not in Washington! (6 cents)

Our house guest from Israel wanted to see someplace new, that she hadn’t seen before.  She has been here so many times that I was at a loss.  We got into the car.  I started asking questions.  The first was “city or country”, and they went on from there.

We drove north on I-270, turned west on Highway 40 in Frederick, and then onto Alt-40, the original National Highway.  I hoped that would take us into a rural area, which it did.  Nice views, green hills, cows and horses, and the colonial town of Middletown, MD.

West of Middletown, I saw a sign that said “Washington Monument State Park”.  I turned onto a two lane road.  It was only about a mile to the park entrance.  An arrow pointed to the Appalachian Trail, which ran through the park.  Another pointed to “the Monument”.

In 1827, 28 years after Washington’s death, and there were no monuments in his memory.  The residents of the nearby town of Boonsboro decided to build such a monument, and on July 4, they climbed a nearby hill and at the top, over a two day period, complete with a dedication ceremony and celebratory lunch, they build a 30 foot, round stone monument using native rock, which they cut and (originally) put together without mortar.  The monument has been rebuilt a number of times, most recently in 1936 by Franklin Roosevelt’s Civil Conservation Corps.

You can climb the 35 steps to the top, and see a wonderful view over the valleys towards West Virginia and Pennsylvania, both of which you can see (as you know from the friendly signage at the top).

There are nearby hiking trails and a modern playground.  It is a beautiful spot and I can’t believe that very many Washingtonians have any idea it is there.

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