Mount Vernon Professional Review and Guide
"Today’s Mount Vernon, a National Landmark Historic District and a Baltimore City Cultural District, was once part of Revolutionary War hero John Eager Howard’s massive estate, Belvidere, a country escape a mile north of Baltimore-Town. As the city grew northward in the early and mid-1800s, it eventually expanded to encompass today’s Mount Vernon. Earlier, Howard had donated this chunk of land—the highest in the city—so that it could be graced with the country’s first memorial to George Washington. Soon enough, Baltimore’s leading citizens and wealthiest families tried to outdo one another in building the fabulous mansions and solid brownstone row homes that give Mount Vernon the beautiful character it still enjoys today; lucky for us, some of these families subsequently tried to outdo one another in their philanthropic activities as well, endowing Baltimore with a treasure trove of cultural institutions. Today’s Mount Vernon does what all great urban neighborhoods do: combine history, splendor, entertainment, and an abundance of cultural attractions. On top of all this, it possesses what could easily be the country’s most beautiful public square: Mount Vernon Place. The Washington Monument anchors the square, standing sentinel since 1829 (predating D.C.’s more famous monument by 55 years) and surrounded by beautifully landscaped public gardens and fountains and a collection of 19th-century buildings. And that’s just one segment of the neighborhood, which radiates from the square and encompasses a bevy of sights and great shops and restaurants. Mount Vernon is Central Baltimore’s jewel, a terrific place to wander in awe."