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Sea Urchin Statue in Mount Vernon

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N Charles Street & E Centre Street (Street View)

GPS: 39° 17′ 48.41″ N 76° 36′ 56.33″ W

History

Edward Berge was one of Baltimore’s prominent sculptors. An attendee of the William Rinehart School of Sculpture, Berge continued his education in Paris under Auguste Rodin. He created numerous monuments throughout the city and generally works in a realist style. He is, however, most well known for his carefree and playful garden figures. The original Sea Urchin, now located at Johns Hopkins University, was created by Berge in 1924, and installed at Mount Vernon Place in a fountain in front of the Washington Monument.

For over thirty years it stood in the south park, until 1961, when is was moved to Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus and replaced with an enlarged version. Frederick Huber wished to memorialize the local sculptor by having a larger more monumental Sea Urchin cast, one that would fit in better with its grand surroundings. Chosen to execute the reproduction was Edward’s son, Henry Berge.

Notes

The enlarged Sea Urchin was the subject of consistent vandalism for years after its installation. On various occasions the statue was moved during the night, only to be found in some strange area of the city the following day. Sometimes the memorial would be dressed in people’s clothing, confronting residents and tourists with a ghostly air. Eventually the pranks ended and the Urchin was granted the peace it deserved. The sculpture resides in Charm City’s oldest wishing well, standing guard over the town’s hopes and dreams.

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Written by monumentcity

May 15th, 2009 at 1:42 pm