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History of Early American Landscape Design

Belmont (Baltimore, MD)

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Belmont was a relatively modest country estate established around 1782 on the outskirts of Baltimore by Charles François Adrien le Paulmier d’Annemours, Consul General of France for Virginia and Maryland from 1779 to 1793. In addition to building a house and laying out a garden, D'Annemours erected America’s first monument in honor of Christopher Columbus at Belmont.


Alternate Names: Barnum’s Hotel; Samuel Ready Orphan Asylum

Site Dates: 1778-1796

Site Owner(s): Charles François Adrien le Paulmier d’Annemours; Archibald Campbell; Zenus Barnum; Samuel Ready Orphan Asylum (from 1887)

Site Designer(s): Charles François Adrien le Paulmier d’Annemours

View on Google Maps; View the Columbus Monument on Google Maps


Having lived outside his native France for many years, D’Annemours felt greater affinity for the United States than his homeland. When his diplomatic career ended in 1792, he chose to remain in America rather than return to France, retiring to the 50-acre estate that he owned outside of Baltimore. Charles Varlé’s Plan of the City of Baltimore, drawn in 1797 [Fig. 1], represents the two-story house and garden that D’Annemours established at Belmont. Varlé's indicates that the garden was laid out in the geometric style, with parterres in circular and triangular formations. An orderly row of fruit trees flanked the garden on one side, complemented on the opposite side by a grove of more naturally dispersed trees. Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag Le Paulmier d’Annemours sold Belmont to Archibald Campbell in 1796 and thereafter the estate passed through many hands. A writer describing the state of Belmont in 1880 observed, “the grounds around the old mansion house, although sadly out of repair..., are still inviting and picturesque, with their box-wood walks, bordered roadways lined with rows of cedars, fine old fruit trees, and rosebush clusters here and there.” [1] Belmont was demolished in 1936 and in 1963 the Columbus monument was moved to its present location across the street from Herring Run Park on Harford Road in Baltimore.

--Robyn Asleson

J.M. Dickey, Christopher Columbus and his Monument Columbia (1892), pp. 73-78. Memoirs by Charles François Adrien Le Paulmier le Chevalier D’Annemours




Monument City Blog: http://monumentcity.net/2009/04/12/columbus-obelisk-baltimore-md/


  1. Article published in ’’The American’’ (Baltimore), November 19, 1880, quoted in Herbert Adams and Henry Wood, ‘’Columbus and His Discovery of America’’, Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, Tenth Series, vols. 10 and 11 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1892), 34, view on Zotero .

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