Mount Vernon, Baltimore
America's first monument to their first president was built right here in the HISTORIC MOUNT VERNON CULTURAL DISTRICT, one of the city's oldest neighbourhoods. The Gilded Age Society of the late 19th century built their mansions in Mount Vernon and many of these once grand homes house restaurants and museums today. This district comprises 12 cultural and historic destinations, including Walters Art Museum, Garrett Jacobs Mansion, the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, the Peabody Library and the Washington Monument and Museum.
I must say that I was pretty impressed with this section. It was also within walking distance from the Tremont. The only drawback was the overcast weather on Saturday which made everything look dreary.
This is the place I go when I really want to feel of another place and time, and not be more than a few miles from my home.
The museum is one of the largest originally private collections of art found in the U.S. It's scope is huge, ranging from the "ancient" world, to late 19th Century art. I don't think the collection is highly unusual, compared to say larger museums, like the Metropolitian in NYC, or the National Gallery in Washington, DC, what what makes it stand out is the almost intimate feel of the galleries...with their dark walls, and low lightings. And, it's usually fairly quiet here.
For some reason that I've never quite figured out, I always need to go to The Knights Hall and view the Islamic armour.
Another standout is the large Asian art collection in the Hackerman House, which is connected through a "link" to the main buildiing. Not only is the art enchanting, the house itself, a stately Mt. Vernon Square mansion, is incredible.
An added bonus are the great views of the square from the "link" and the Hackeman house itself.
The Peabody Institute is one of the top conservatory music schools in the U.S. While it is lovely, and one is able to take advantage of various concerts, a great draw when you're in the area is a visit to the incredible Peabody Library.
This incredible library was built in the 1850s, and consists of five tiers of ornamental cast-iron balconies. It's lit by an atrium and small, round lights placed around the shelves.
Anyone is welcome in, to take a look at this great structure, and to browse.
The library also recently added a gallery to highlight its collection. It's located right before you enter the library.
An artsy district about 10 blocks North of the Inner Harbor, centered along N. Charles Street.
Here's you'll find the original Washington Monument, built before the big one in Washington DC.
Plenty of eclectic and upscale restaurants and bars in this area. Most of them are ethnic: Afganistan, Indian, Nepalese, Japanese and such...... See my restaurant tips.
My hotel was just a short walk away from heart of the Mount Vernon neighborhood so I spent the first part of Friday morning strolling through it. I had already been to the excellent Walters Museum, make sure you include a stop here and try to allot several hours, 2 hours wasn't nearly enough.
My first stop was the Peabody Library to check out the architecture, a real gem. Be sure to stop at the front desk and ask what there is to see.
You can't miss the Washington Monument, the country's first monument to, George Washington, it's first President. It differs from the Washington Monument in Washington DC in that it has a statue of him at the top, the one in DC is an Obelisk. You can walk 228 steps up to the top of it for a view over Baltimore but I passed.
Old St. Paul's wasn't open either time when I went by but even if the church is closed, you can peer through the glass doors at the front of the church to see some of the Tiffany stained glass windows, pictures of which you can see on the attached website.
The structure dates to 1856 but the church itself was founded in 1692 as one of Maryland's 1st Anglican parishes.
Probably one of the most beautiful squares in the U.S., at least the most beautiful one that I've seen.
The Washington Monument stands right in the center. See John Water's movie "Pecker," if you want to see just how suggestive the monument really is. But, seriously, this was the first Washington monument, predating the one more famous one about 40 miles south in Washington, DC.
Mt. Vernon is the cultural hub of the city. The square also includes the Peabody Institute, the famous music school, with its library filled with wrought iron balconies.
Also on the square, is the Walters Art Museum, with its fine collection of Asian art, and antiquities.
There are also numerous galleries and restaurants in the area. (Some of which are mentioned in the restaurant section.)
The black and green stones of the Mount Vernon United Methodist Church provide an elegant backdrop for the Washington Monument. The church was built on the site of the Charles Howard mansion where Mr. Howard's father-in-law, Francis Scott Key died. Key, for those of you who might not know, wrote the national anthem of the United States right here in Baltimore. The church is on the register of Nationally Historic Places.
French General Lafayette is well know and honored in Maryland. He fought along side General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. There are monuments to him in various cities. This is the one in Baltimore. It is located directly in front of the Washington Memorial on Charles Street.
The Mount Vernon Methodist Church is located just across the street from the Washington Monument. Every year on World Aids December 1 a memorial service is held here and the names of AIDS victims are read during a candle light ceremony in the church. After the ceremony the congregation walks out in silence with their candles still burning and place them in the fence around the Washinton Monument. It is a very moving and sad memorial each year.
Monument to Chief Justice Taney
Located just behind the Washington Monument and across the circle surrounding the monument is the Monument to Marylands infamous U.S. Supreme Court Justice Taney. Due to the Dread Scott Decision Taney is not held with a lot of respect historically.
This is another monument is the park surrounding the Washington Monument. There are two streets in Baltimore named after this famous Marylander. Howard Street which used to be one of Baltimore's major shopping districts has fallen into decay over the years. Currently there is a major renovation project going on in this area to bring the Howard Street corridor back to life. The other street named after him is Eager Street which runs through the heart of Mt. Vernon.
Located by the Washington Monument at Charles and Mount Vernon Place streets, the United Methodist Church is a religious attraction and one of the most significant buildings in all of Baltimore. It is one that you will not want to pass by when you see it. It sticks out in the neighborhood like a thorn among roses (in a good way). The building looks like they took it right out of the 17th century and put it in the middle of the 21st century.
Constructed in 1872, it has been in the heart of Baltimore, offering discovery in the stillness of time. The exterior's rustic look is a result of a mixture of green serpentine stone with red and buff limestone trim. Designed by architect Thomas Dixon it is a high Victorian Gothic with arches and trusses and has three spires. Quite an architectural accomplishment for its time.
In 1971, it was listed as a historic landmark in the National Registry of Historic Places. This one is different from the Mount Vernon United Methodist Church in Washington DC. I recommend you visit both if you can. I particularly liked this one. I did not have a chance to see the interior as it was closed.
Mount Vernon Place was designated a National Historic Landmark because it has Baltimore's oldest neighborhoods. Apparently it was home to some of the wealthiest people back in the day too. It also has the pillar monument erected in honor of the founding father George Washington. The construction of the monument began in 1815. It is the original monument, preceding the one in Washington, DC.
My family toured Mount Vernon on a recent trip to Baltimore's Inner Harbor. The Washington Monument is closed due to an accident that damaged the gate, but the eternal structure is in good shape and can be seen touring in the air. The United Methodist Church is right across the road. On the southeast corner is the Peabody Institute, and across from it is the Walters Art Museum. The Inner Harbor is about half a mile from it and easily accessible.
The Walters Art Gallery is located in Mount Vernon Square right next to the Washington Monument. The collection includes European, American, Islamic and Asian art and the adult admission is $10.