1 Reply Latest reply on Jun 14, 2017 4:43 PM by Michael Chornesky

    obelisk history.

    stephen hosmer Wayfarer

      I am looking for some easily readable text about the history of the Obelisk which is located in Georgetown on the canal bridge.  If you are not similar with it, it looks white and is looks like the Washington monument but it's only 6 feet tall.  It is also near Wisconsin Ave. I'm looking for something basic  information telling me when it was built, how it was constructed, and the reasoning for putting it where it is today would be great.   Another idea would be to provide me a time line of where it was and how it has changed over the last 100 to 150 years.   I believe it was constructed between 1800 and 1875.  Note:   I already have a great picture of it.

       

      Thank you

      Stephen Hosmer

      sh34g@nih.gov

        • Re: obelisk history.
          Michael Chornesky Adventurer

          Mr. Hosmer,

           

          Thank you for your question to History Hub.  The obelisk in question is commemorative.  The Wisconsin Avenue Bridge was one of many built along the banks of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal to separate the burgeoning city from the canal's towpath.  In 1850, upon the completion of the canal to its concluding point in Cumberland, Maryland, the C & O Canal Company commissioned the creation and placement of that obelisk on the bridge to commemorate the achievement.  The obelisk also features inscriptions on all four sides with the words:

          Northeast face: “CHESAPEAKE & OHIO CANAL/ Commenced at Georgetown/ July 4TH 1828/ Chief Engineer/ BENJAMIN WRIGHT”

          Northwest face:  “CHESAPEAKE & OHIO CANAL/ COMPLETED TO CUMBERLAND/ Octr. 10TH 1850/ CHIEF ENGINEER/ CHARLES B. FISK”

          Southeast face: "CHESAPEAKE & OHIO CANAL COMPANY 1850/ President/ JAMES M. COALE./ Directors / WILLIAM A. BRADLEY/ HENRY DAINGERFIELD/ WM. COST JOHNSON/ JOHN PICKELL/ GEORGE SCHLEY/ SAMUEL P. SMITH/ Clerk/ WALTER S. RINGOL/ Treasurer / LAWRENCE J. BRENGLE.”

          Southwest face: “MARYLAND STATE AGENTS/ SAMUEL SPRIGG/ ALLEN B. DAVIS, WM. T. GOLDSBOROUGH, TENCH TILGHMAN, JOHN VAN LEAR.”

           

          Many of the records concerning the canal construction and commemoration are still likely in the possession of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, National Park Service.  They can be e-mailed at choh_information@nps.gov.

          In addition, some of the records of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company are archived at the University of Maryland Library Archives.  Please consult Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company archives > ArchivesUM for more information on those materials.

           

          If you would like to know more about the canal and obelisk, the C and O Canal also has a friends group which cooperates with the National Park Service in the conservation and commemoration of the project.  They can be reached at C&O Canal Association.

           

          Hope this assists you in understanding this piece of the DC past.

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