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Baltimore Living

Best Monument

The Christopher Columbus Obelisk

Harford Road and Parkside Drive

In the recent flap over the city's latest advertising campaign, very few people mentioned Baltimore's best, and most accurate, nickname: Monument City. The city is lousy with monuments, the best of which pay homage to historical figures and events with no connection to Baltimore. Although it's not as kitschy as the monuments to William Wallace or the end of Prohibition in Druid Hill Park, the Christopher Columbus Obelisk, widely thought to be the first monument to Columbus in the United States, is typical of the kinds of structures with which past Baltimoreans have decorated the city. Erected in 1792, after the French consul in Baltimore realized that there wasn't a single monument to Columbus in his adopted home, the white obelisk stayed on the consul's former property until 1963, when it was moved to the corner of Harford Road and Parkside Drive, where it continues to sit, unknown and majestic, yet another tribute to someone who never set foot in Baltimore.

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