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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 spend the majority of his life outside his native France, D’Annemours felt a greater affinity for the United States than his homeland. When his diplomatic career ended in 1792, he chose to remain in Baltimore (where he had served as an official representative of the French government for the past fourteen years), rather than return to Paris. He retired to Belmont, a 50-acre estate outside Baltimore, where he had built a relatively small, two-story house around 1782. The appearance of the house, which was demolished in 1936, is documented by photographs made by the Historic American Building Survey. [1]. The appearance of the surrounding landscape is suggested by the representation of Belmont in Charles Varlé’s Plan of the City of Baltimore [Fig. 1], drawn in 1797, a year after D’Annemours sold the property to Archibald Campbell. Varlé represented a garden 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 After D’Annemours sold Belmont to Archibald Campbell, the estate passed through many hands and gradualy fell into decay. 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.” [2] 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. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=belmont%20harford
  2. 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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