Sunday, July 24, 2016

War Correspondents Memorial Arch - Burkittsville, MD

July 17, 2016

Larry, Jr. had just about finished painting the cabin, getting all the hard to reach places, saving us from climbing the ladder, when it was time for him to leave for home.  Grandson Grant stayed behind to help out a while longer and to visit with us. Gerry had a hair cut appointment in historic Boonsboro, MD so Grant and I took her there and then continued on to the Washington Monument State Park nearby.  

Washington Monument State Park

Located atop South Mountain, 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.

The monument often fell into disrepair, and was rebuilt at least twice during its history - mostly recently by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936. The monument is currently maintained by the Maryland Park Service.

While we were there a Park Ranger dressed in a Union Army uniform asked if we wanted to hear his talk about the clothes, rifle and other equipment soldiers of that time period used.  Grant is a military history buff and readily agreed to hear what he had to say.  The Ranger really knew his stuff and gave us an interesting 20 minute presentation.

We picked up a geocache located near the building in the background of the above photo and then went to pick up Gerry after her appointment.  We were hungry so we stopped at a local restaurant for lunch and planned the rest of the day.

The War Correspondents Memorial Arch was nearby so we headed to Gathland State Park to check it out.  

The National War Correspondents Memorial, part of Gathland State Park, is a memorial dedicated to journalists who died in war. It is located in Maryland, at Crampton's Gap at South Mountain. Civil War correspondent George Alfred Townsend, or "Gath", built the arch in 1896, and it was dedicated October 16, 1896.

It is claimed that the arch is the only monument in the world dedicated to journalists killed in combat. However, a tree in Arlington National Cemetery was also dedicated as a war correspondents' memorial in 1986.

Although Townsend retained ownership of the property until his death in 1914, maintenance of the monument itself was entrusted to the National Park Service- then the War Department - in 1904.[8]
The monument's plaques lists 157 names which are sometimes assumed to be all war correspondents. In the late 1990s, local historian Timothy J. Reese analyzed the list and asserted that only 135 can claim to be war correspondents or artists, and 33 of those are not identifiable in the historical record. Furthermore, many names are misstated and several important names are missing.

Gerry and Grant at the Arch

George Townsend owned the land near the Arch and was instrumental in having it built.  The area was also the scene of the Battle of South Mountain during the American Civil War.  There are a number of beautiful stone buildings in the park with most of them restored.

The old barn below hasn't been restored and doesn't look like restoration is in it's future.  There is a nice pavilion on the left of the field in front of the barn and an ample area for children to play.

The park is well maintained with and the Appalachian Trail runs through it.  We saw a number of hikers resting by the water fountains and taking advantage of the restrooms.  

It was getting late by this time and we started back to the cabin.  Since our favorite soft ice cream place was on the way back, we stopped by for black raspberry cones, their flavor of the week.  We can't avoid stopping there whenever we are in the area.

That was our day, how was yours.

NOTE:  There is a lot of information online about the Arch and Townsend and it is interesting reading but too much for me to put on the blog.

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