Columbus obelisk discovered again


Baltimore's 200-year-old monument to Christopher Columbus, the first of its kind in North America, is about to regain its status.

Shoved into obscurity by the excitement over a new Columbus statue in Little Italy in 1984, the monument had been ignored in plans for this year's celebration of the 500th anniversary of the 1492 voyage of discovery.

But no longer, says former Mayor Thomas J. D'Alesandro III, general chairman of the Mayor's Columbus Day Parade. The obelisk, first erected in 1792 in the gardens of a then-Baltimore County estate, will regain the respect it once enjoyed, he vows.

Forgotten and rediscovered periodically throughout its history, the monument had become the focus of traditional Columbus Day ceremonies for a number of years until 1977.

It again drifted from public consciousness after October 1984, when President Ronald Reagan dedicated a new statue of the Great Explorer in a plaza at the edge of Little Italy.

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