Probably Townsend’s most unique and certainly his most lasting architectural endeavor at Gathland is an unusual monument erected in 1896 as a memorial to his fellow war correspondents. Ruthanna Hindes, in her book “George Alfred Townsend” describes the monument in some detail:
“In appearance the monument is quite odd. It is fifty feet high and forty feet broad. Above a Moorish arch sixteen feet high built of Hummelstown purple stone are super-imposed three Roman arches. These are flanked on one side with a square crenellated tower, producing a bizarre and picturesque effect. Niches in different places shelter the carving of two horses’ heads, and symbolic terra cotta statuettes of Mercury, Electricity and Poetry. Tables under the horses’ heads bear the suggestive words “Speed” and “Heed”; the heads are over the Roman arches. The three Roman arches are made of limestone from Creek Battlefield, Virginia, and each is nine feet high and six feet wide. These arches represent Description, Depiction and Photography.
The aforementioned tower contains a statue of Pan with the traditional pipes, and he is either half drawing or sheathing a Roman sword. Over a small turret on the opposite side of the tower is a gold vane of a pen bending a sword. (Note: This weather vane may now be seen in the Park Museum.)
At various places on the monument are quotations appropriate to the art of war correspondence. These are from a great variety of sources beginning with Old Testament verses.
Perhaps the most striking feature of all are the tablets inscribed with the names of 157 correspondents and war artists who saw and described in narrative and picture almost all the events of the tour years of the war-”
The unusual monument was dedicated by Governor Lloyd Lowndes on October 16, 1896, and in 1904 was turned over to the National Park Service to be maintained as a National Monument.
After Townsend’s death on April 15, 1914, his daughter sold Gathland. In 1943 the property was purchased by a church group and used as a summer conference site. Later it was acquired by members of the Frederick Chamber of Commerce and the Historical Society of Frederick County, Inc. On May 13,1949, it was deeded to the State of Maryland to be administered as a State Park by the Department of Forests and Par
What a unique monument! Just so I’m clear, this is in Frederick, MD? How have I never heard of it?!
It’s in Gathland State Park, which is between Burkittsville, MD and Gapland, MD. Up by the Frederick County and Washington County border. Definitely worth a visit.