When you think of the Washington Monument you immediately think of the “pencil building” in Washington, D.C don’t you? But there’s another Washington Monument in Washington Monument State Park near Frederick, MD. The site includes a small number of group camp sites, a quaint museum and a short hike to the monument. The museum was under construction but its temporary location features some interesting items including weapons used by the Confederate and Union soldiers, uniforms and many artifacts that were found in surrounding farms throughout the years.
There was a room in the museum dedicated to George Alfred Townsend, a Civil War journalist whose estate became what is now Gathland State Park, located about six miles from Washington Monument State Park. Mr. Townsend wrote under the pen name “Gath”, hence the name “Gathland”.
Seeing the civil war weapons also taught us about the “caliber” of a gun. We learned that caliber refers to the approximate internal diameter of the barrel.
The hike to the Washington Monument was about a quarter of a mile to the top of a hill. The trail along the way had signs outlining George Washington’s life which reviewed many of his accomplishments. According to the official website, here’s the story of the monument:
“Washington Monument State Park is named for the first completed monument dedicated to the memory of George Washington. The Washington Monument is a rugged stone tower that was initially erected by the citizens of Boonsboro in 1827. According a period newspaper account, on July 4, 1827 at 7 a.m., most of Boonsboro’s 500 inhabitants assembled at the public square. Behind the Stars and Stripes and stepping spiritedly to the music of a fife and drum corps, they marched two miles up the mountain to the monument site. The citizens worked until noon and then held a dedication ceremony and lunch. They resumed work and by 4 p.m. the monument stood fifteen feet high on a 54-foot circular base. The day ended with the reading of the Declaration of Independence and a three round salute fired by three Revolutionary War veterans. The workers returned that September to finish. Upon its completion, the monument stood 30 feet high.”
We climbed the spiral staircase to the top of the monument and were rewarded with an amazing view. It became quite clear to us why Union soldiers would utilize the monument during the Civil War as we observed how we could see stretches of land for miles and miles. Even though it was a hazy day we could see parts of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, the Frederick airport and White Tail Ski resort.
Time spent: About 1.5 hours