MHT File Photo
Zittlestown Road, Boonsboro, Washington County
Washington Monument is situated atop Monument Knob, originally called "The Blue Rock," a 1550-foot peak of South Mountain, located on the dividing line between Washington and Frederick Counties, 1 1/2 miles north of Alt U.S. 40. The monument is 24 feet in diameter at its base, and 40 feet high. Its tapering design is said to be that of a Revolutionary War cannon, but is often referred to as a "jug" or a "milk bottle." The wall is composed of huge stones, many weighing upwards of a ton. A doorway on the east side of the structure leads to a stairway that ascends to an observation deck at the top. A series of white marble markers document the monument's construction on July 4, 1827, and restorations in 1882 and 1936. The original builder's stone inscribed "Built by Isaac C. Lutz 1827," was removed and in private ownership. The Appalachian Trail, which extends 2000 miles from Maine to Georgia, passes directly east of the monument and is used by visitors going to and from the monument.
Reportedly built in a single day, the monument was completed and dedicated on July 4, 1827. It is significant as the first monument to George Washington in the United States. (Although the better known monument at Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore was begun in 1815, the statue of George Washington was not installed atop it until 1929, and other work continued as late as 1843.) Vandals and the elements had reduced the Washington County monument to a mere few feet in height by the time of the Civil War. In this tumbled down condition the monument served as a Union Signal Station during the Battle of Antietam and after the Battle of Gettysburg while General Lee's army lingered north of the Potomac River.