At the top of South Mountain in Washington County, is the nation’s first-ever monument honoring George Washington. It was completed in 1827 and predates the monument on the National Mall by 21 years.
The monument, and South Mountain, played a pivotal role during the Civil War when Gen. Robert E. Lee brought the fight to the north. The battle of South Mountain was one of several battles that occurred during the Maryland Campaign of 1862. The Union Army used the monument and its high summit as a signal station, and won control of several strategic South Mountain passes, ultimately forcing Lee to retreat. Union Army victories during the Battle of South Mountain set the stage for the Confederate Army’s surrender and gave President Lincoln the political sway needed to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
The monument is currently maintained by the Maryland Park Service and is a great spot for migratory bird watching. The site hosts a museum of historical artifacts related to the history of Washington Monument and the Battle of South Mountain and is open on weekends in April and October, and Thursday through Monday from May through September.
More Conduit Street Fun Facts on the first President:
Fun Fact: In Which Maryland County Was George Washington Born?
Fun Fact: What (or Who) Do Lexington Market and Washington College Have in Common?
Fun Fact: Did You Know that The Maryland State House is the Oldest State Capitol Still in Continuous Legislative Use?
Fun Fact: Did You Know that the Man Who Posed as Washington for the Quarter was Born in Wicomico County?