In nineteenth-century America, the obelisk was utilized on a monumental scale in public landscape design. Some examples were built as hollow shafts that could be ascended by means of an internal staircase leading to interior lookout platforms or external galleries, allowing the visitor a panoramic [[view]] of the surrounding landscape.<ref name="Zukowsky_1976">John Zukowsky, “Monumental American Obelisks: Centennial Vistas,” ''Art Bulletin'' 58, no.4 (December 1976): 574–581, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/BFPET4DT/q/zukowsky view on Zotero].</ref> [[Solomon Willard|Solomon Willard's]] [[Bunker Hill Monument]] in Boston was the earliest obelisk of this type, dating from 1825 [Fig. 1].<ref>Zukowsky argues that the American monumental obelisk was a combination of the solid obelisk and the hollow memorial column. As it developed through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the monumental obelisk was a formally unique and distinctly American monument type that had military connotations and served as an image of continental expansion and unity during the centennial era. See Zukowsky, 1976, 581.</ref> Monumental obelisks were also striking landmarks in the relatively low urban skylines of the first half of the nineteenth century. [[Robert Mills]], architect of the [[Washington Monument (Washington, D.C.)| Washington Monument]] in Washington, D.C., designed several monumental obelisks that served both as observation towers and civic displays [Fig. 2].<ref>Mills designed four monumental obelisks during his career; see Pamela Scott, “Robert Mills and American Monuments” in ''Robert Mills, Architect'', ed. John M. Bryan (Washington, D.C.: American Institute of Architects Press, 1989), 143-177, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/NQCC9937/q/robert%20mills view on Zotero].</ref>
The obelisk's rich antique associations imbued it with symbolic significance. Its origins in Egypt, prominence in the Roman world, and, since the Renaissance, use in gardens and [[park]]s lent a vocabulary of the exotic and the historic to American landscape design. Several collected treatise citations recount the best-known examples of ancient obelisks, many of which have survived into the modern period. Excavations in Rome during the seventeenth century, for example, revealed dozens of Egyptian obelisks that were re-erected throughout the city. At the same time, modern obelisks ornamented French gardens such as Versailles. Many great gardens in Britain in the eighteenth century also featured obelisks: Castle Howard, Chiswick House, Holkham Hall, and Montacute House, to name a few.<ref>Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, Susan Jellicoe, Patrick Goode, and Michael Lancaster, eds., ''The Oxford Companion to Gardens'' (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 408, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/S392BPJ8/q/jellicoe view on Zotero].</ref> With the French invasion of Egypt in 1798, the taste for Egyptian statuary and styles increased and obelisks appeared more frequently as props in gardens.<ref>For information on the Egyptian style in America, see Richard G. Carrott, ''The Egyptian Revival: Its Sources, Monuments, and Meaning, 1808-1858'' (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1978, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/HC7PJUR7/q/egyptian view on Zotero].</ref> Thus the tradition of obelisks in European gardens and public spaces transmitted via literature, European designers, and American visitors abroad, was a significant influence on American garden practice. Both [[Ephraim Chambers]] (1741–43) and [[Noah Webster]] (1828) described the use of hieroglyphic inscriptions on obelisks that expressed the historic tradition from which the form derived.
[[File:1170.jpg|thumb|left|Fig. 3, [[E.J. Pinkerton]], ''General View of Laurel Hill Cemetery'', 1844.]]

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