The Washington Monument, constructed between 1815 and 1829, was the nation's first formal tribute to the leader of the United States. Following the custom of the day, the design was chosen in a competiton and the cost defrayed by a public lottery. The winning design by Robert Mills, pictured below was modified to the present simple column.
Themonument had originally been planned to rise from what is now the site of the Battle Monument. Cautious city fathers, fearing for their real estate should the monument topple over, urged a more countrified setting. John Eager Howard obliged, donating land from his vast estate, "Belvidere." Enrico Causici created the statue of Washington resigning his Army commission.
The four squares radiating from the monument were given to the city by the heirs of Howard. Embellished by fountains and statuary by Antoine Louis Barye, Mount Mount Vernon Place has been cited by architectural historians as one of the country's finest formal city squares.