A Project of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art
History of Early American Landscape Design

Belmont (Baltimore, MD)

[http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/research/casva/research-projects.html A Project of the National Gallery of Art, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts ]
Revision as of 22:53, March 6, 2015 by R-Asleson (talk | contribs)

Belmont was a relatively modest country estate established around 1782 on the outskirts of Baltimore by Charles François Adrien le Paulmier, le Chevalier 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 (1887-1936)

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, Chevalier D’Annemours felt a greater affinity for the United States than his homeland. When his diplomatic career ended in 1793, 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 on "one of the most commanding sites in the suburbs of the city, overlooking a large part of the town, the Patapsco river, etc.", where he had built a relatively small, two-story house around 1782. [1] The appearance of the house, which was demolished in 1936, is documented by photographs made by the Historic American Building Survey. [2]. An impression of the surrounding landscape is provided 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 his 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 flank the garden on one side, complemented on the opposite side by a grove of more naturally dispersed trees. [3] Varlé also represented the memorial that D'Annemours erected in 1792 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World. The monument took the form of a 44-and-a-half-foot high obelisk fashioned of brick covered with stucco bearing the inscription "Sacred/to the/Memory/of/Chris. Columbus/Octob. XII/MDCC VIIIC.” It originally stood on an artificial mound in a grove of cedar and ash trees about 100 yards from D’Annemours's house. [4]

After D’Annemours sold Belmont to Archibald Campbell, the estate passed through several owners and gradually 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.” [5] Hidden by overgrown vegetation, the Columbus monument passed in and out of public awareness from the mid-19th century until 1963, when it was moved to its present location across the street from Herring Run Park on Harford Road in Baltimore. [6]

--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. Quotation from Samuel Ready Asylum Board report, c. 1887, in Robert S. Wolff, "Industrious Education and the Legacy of Samuel Ready, 1887-1920," Maryland Historical Magazine (Fall 2000), 312, view on Zotero.
  2. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=belmont%20harford
  3. James D. Kornwolf, ‘’Architecture and Town Planning in Colonial North America’’, 3 vols. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), 2: 752, view on Zotero.
  4. 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), 30, 70-71, view on Zotero.
  5. 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.
  6. Columbus Monument Papers (1898-1964), ms. 1241, Maryland Historical Society.

Retrieved from "https://heald.nga.gov/mediawiki/index.php?title=Belmont_(Baltimore,_MD)&oldid=7117"

History of Early American Landscape Design contributors, "Belmont (Baltimore, MD)," History of Early American Landscape Design, , https://heald.nga.gov/mediawiki/index.php?title=Belmont_(Baltimore,_MD)&oldid=7117 (accessed June 1, 2023).

A Project of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts

National Gallery of Art, Washington