Business · Cultural Heritage · cultural itineraries · destination management · entrepreneurs · Friends and Family Travel · Historic District · Historic Towns · intercity transit · Lakes · Maritime Heritage · museums · ships · Tradition · travel plan

Destination Vermont

Agriculture Industry Heritage Museums Small Towns and Downtowns

Agriculture and Food Heritage experience Vermont’s thriving food and arts scene, local cuisine from artisan chefs, creative food companies, and passionate farmers thriving alongside artists sharing their arts and crafts.

Museums tell the story of Vermont’s heritage, arts and crafts. Early Vermonters were hardworking and industrious; museums of agriculture and industry tell the stories of how natural resources were employed to help provide for families and build Vermont: the American Precision Museum in Windsor, the Billings Farm in Woodstock, the New England Maple in Pittsford, the Vermont Granite in Barre and the Vermont Marble Museum in Proctor.

Learn the Stories of Shipwrecks at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes

Downtowns and Small Towns Vermont’s thriving downtowns are where visitors and residents find the distinctive local businesses, historic buildings, and rich cultural and social activities that form Vermont’s special sense of community. These authentic and attractive downtowns and villages are recognized as a key part of the state’s allure.

Vermont Downtowns are a Centerpiece of Community Life

The Downtown Program, established in 1994, is a revitalization effort that builds on each community’s history; these local efforts have demonstrated how revitalization encourages the local economy and cultural institutions, while supporting growth in a way that minimizes environmental impacts.

Waterbury is a vibrant community in the Green Mountains, encompassing Waterbury Village, Colbyville and Waterbury Center.  A 20-minute drive from Montpelier, 30 minutes from Burlington, and midway between the resort areas of Stowe and the Mad River Valley, Waterbury sits at the intersection of three of Vermont’s most heavily traveled and scenic roads. Downtown is home to a colorful mix of residential neighborhoods, civic and cultural facilities, independent small businesses and the Ben & Jerry Factory. 

Reduce Transit Times and Travel Costs on Your Next Trip

Travel Plans     Intercity & Local Transport

Newport lies on the southern shore of Lake Memphremagog just a few miles south of the Quebec border. Visitors can pursue year-round outdoor adventures, including boating, swimming, hiking, biking, fishing, skiing, and snowmobiling.

Newport eateries source local foods and turn them into award winning dishes

Burlington and its walkable waterfront are home to a thriving arts scene, creative entrepreneurship, great shopping, three colleges and a university, and a full range of four-season outdoor pursuits. Fountains, a brick-paved pedestrian mall, and historic buildings ranging in style from Victorian to Art Deco and Streamline Modern provide the backdrop for the Church Street Marketplace. The nearby waterfront includes lakeside parks, ferry crossings, excursion boats, and a 12.5-mile walk and bike path that connects to the Lake Champlain Islands and its 200 miles of shorelines.

one of the best 100 small arts towns in America

Montpelier is the largest urban historic district in Vermont. Of the exquisite historic buildings, the crown jewel is the impeccably restored State House, one of the oldest and best preserved in the country. Three blocks away is the city’s bustling business district where independently owned shops offering books, recordings, clothing, fine crafts and pastries.  

 Your Destination Vermont Travel Plan

accountability · Maritime · Maritime Heritage · responsibility · ships · Tradition

Ships, Captains and Leaders

Crisis Accountability and Responsibility

This is the story of two ships, their masters and how they reacted in the aftermath of a mishap. You have heard of the Costa Concordia; a ship with state-of-the-art navigation and communications technology. The other ship was a 1637 ton sailing barque that lost all its masts in a storm off the Falkland Islands in December 1905.

So, at face value nothing in common; different times and ships, part of the world as well as type and cause of the accident.  Even the ending is different: the sailing ships managed to limp into Montevideo harbor after 46 days with its valuable cargo of nitrates intact.

What they have in common are the culture, values and traditions of the two masters and crews. So, how could their behavior and performance after their respective mishaps have been so different.

There are of course many reasons but the one that is key is the role of a ship’s captain, and for that matter any business or government leader, in the 21st century compared to 100 years ago.

Today a ship and its captain are pretty much on automatic pilot; in fact, many decisions are made off the ship in an office somewhere where “managers” decide on a course of action. While maintaining objective responsibility, a captain is reduced to a mere figurehead.

The captain of that other ship was the ultimate decision maker. He had no choice, being so far away from home and for long periods of time. He and the ship owner shared in the risk and responsibility as well as in the rewards in the event of a successful voyage. In other words: total accountability!

Technical issues aside, this could be a determining factor in the performance aboard ship and in the conduct of a business, a government or a nonprofit institution.

Systems with diffused power and limited liability have major advantages but, as with the economic crisis of the last several years, they also lead to disasters with long term consequences for everyone.

A century ago the captain had every incentive to perform. He also had total responsibility and the unconditional allegiance of the crew; the ultimate team effort with a clear leader! Today’s captains are salaried employees. Nothing wrong with a salaried employee but who are the real de-facto captains of today’s ships? The implication is that today’s highly trained and sophisticated managers do not take responsibility by design. They have a job to do and they do it extremely well. Under this scenario, when something goes wrong it is difficult to establish accountability and assign responsibility. More importantly, it takes a long time to determine the causes of a problem and make the necessary adjustments.

Note: The captain of the sailing ship was this writer’s grandfather.

Cultural Heritage · cultural itineraries · destination management · Historic Towns · Maritime Heritage · Rivers · Transit Calculator · Travel · Travel Plan Fees · waterways

Muscatine Iowa

Pearl of the Mississippi Watermelon Capital Commerce and Industry

Muscatine is situated on a series of bluffs and hills at a west-south bend in the Mississippi River. The river-bend gives the city roughly 260 degrees of riverfront with two creeks flowing into the Mississippi in downtown Muscatine. From the bluffs there is a beautiful view of the town below and of the Mississippi for miles up and down.  Located 25 miles (40 km) from the Quad Cities, 38 miles (61 km) from Iowa City and 68 miles (109 km) from Cedar Rapids, Muscatine is part of a larger community whose residents commute for work.

Muscatine Island is home to working-class neighborhoods and industry

Transport Muscatine is located along two designated routes of Iowa’s Commercial-Industrial Network; Highway 61 serves as a major agricultural-industry route to the south from Burlington to Muscatine, where it becomes a heavy-industrial and major commuter route to the northeast between Muscatine and Davenport; highway 61 serves as a shortcut for traffic from northeastern Missouri and southeastern Iowa to the Quad Cities, Chicago, and points beyond. Iowa 92 provides access to the Avenue of the Saints to the west and western Illinois via the Norbert Beckey Bridge to the east.

History Muscatine began as a trading post.The name may have been derived from the Mascoutin Native American tribe who lived along the Mississippi in the 1700s. From the 1840s to the Civil War, Muscatine had Iowa’s largest black community; fugitive slaves who traveled the Mississippi from the South and free blacks who had migrated from the eastern states.

Mark Twain lived here during the summer of 1855 while working at the Muscatine Journal

Town Slogans include Pearl of the Mississippi and Pearl Button Capital of the World, referring to when pearl button manufacturing by the McKee Button Company was a significant economic contributor and Weber & Sons Button Co was the world’s largest producer of fancy freshwater pearl buttons harvested from the Mississippi River. Muscatine is also known as the Watermelon Capital of the World, reflecting the agricultural and rural nature of the area.

Connect for Your Travel to Muscatine and Iowa

Shared Mobility Calculator     Intercity Travel Costs     US Trip Planner

cultural itineraries · destination management · food and wine itineraries · Historic Towns · intercity transit · Maritime Heritage · Mobility · mobility network · museums · Sustainable Communities · Tradition · Transit Calculator · travel plan · water quality · waterways

Washington DC Maryland and the Brandywine Valley

Your next stop on this itinerary is for three nights and four days. The Washington, DC area, both in the US capital city and its suburban communities, has a unique local economy driven by government spending that has also fueled the development of downtown and neighborhood construction. This in turn has spawned a demand for nightlife and weekend amenities for the educated and environmentally conscious local population as well as out of town visitors.

Washington, DC historic sites museums performing arts and music

Historic sites the National Mall is a large, open park area in the center of the city. Located in the center of the Mall are the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Pier. Also located on the mall are the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial at the east end of the Reflecting Pool, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Directly south of the mall, the Tidal Basin features rows of Japanese Cherry Blossoms blossom trees that were presented as gifts from the nation of Japan. The FDR Memorial and Jefferson Memorial are located around the Tidal Basin.

The Pentagon ViewThe Smithsonian is an educational foundation chartered by Congress in 1846 that maintains most of the nation’s official museums and galleries in Washington, D.C. The U.S. government partially funds the Smithsonian, thus making its collections open to the public free of charge. The most visited of the Smithsonian museums in 2007 was the Museum of Natural History located on the National Mall. Other Smithsonian Institution museums and galleries located on the mall are: The Air and Space Museum; the Museum of African art; the Museum of American History; and the Smithsonian Institution Building, also known as “The Castle”, which serves as the institution’s headquarters.

There are many private art museums in the District of Columbia, which house major collections and exhibits open to the public such as: the National Museum of Women in the Arts; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the largest private museum in Washington; and the Phillips Collection, the first museum of modern art in the United States. Other private museums in Washington include the Newseum, the International Spy Museum and the National Geographic Museum. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum located near the National Mall maintains exhibits, documentation, and artifacts related to The Holocaust.

Potomac River in Washington DCPerforming arts and music Washington, D.C. is a national center for the arts. The John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is home to the National Symphony Orchestra, the National Opera, and the Washington Ballet. Washington also has a local independent theater tradition. Institutions such as Arena Stage, and the Studio Theatre feature classic works and new American plays.

The U Street Corridor in Northwest D.C., known as “Washington’s Black Broadway”, is home to institutions like Bohemian Caverns and the Lincoln Theatre. Other jazz venues feature modern blues such as Madam’s Organ in Adams Morgan and Blues Alley in Georgetown. D.C.

Potomac River Trails

The Lower Potomac, Anacostia, Patuxent and Wicomico rivers are among the major waterways in the region, but hundreds of smaller streams, creeks and rivers abound providing numerous opportunities for recreational boating.

Chsapeake WatershedAnacostia River Watershed 176 square mile area of land encompasses most of the eastern half of the District of Columbia and large portions of Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland. The Anacostia has 13 major tributary creeks and streams – many with their own sub-watershed citizen advocacy groups; it starts near Bladensburg, MD, and runs for 8.5 miles before meeting the Potomac River at Hains Point in Washington, DC.

Anacostia River Trails and Port Towns The word Anacostia is derived from the Nacotchtank Indian word anaquash; it means village trading center. In the 18th century the port at Bladensburg, Maryland, was 40 feet deep and served as a major center for colonial shipping fleets. Today, at Bladensburg Waterfront Park, site of the old port, the water often measures 3 feet deep or less. In the 18th century, the Anacostia River flowed through 2,500 acres of tidal wetlands. Today, less than 150 acres of wetland remain.

Annapolis, Maryland

Hammond-Harwood House an 18th Century Arts & Architecture Museum in Annapolis, Maryland. The gentleman planter Matthias Hammond began work in 1774 with renowned architect William Buckland on plans for a new, elegant townhouse in the most fashionable area of Annapolis.

hammond-harwood house museum front facade.jpegAn Anglo-Palladian mansion featuring some of the best woodcarving and plasterwork in America

Reading and Writing History Designed to give high school students a hands-on lesson about Colonial American history. The program is divided up into three mini-sessions each with its own goals: a colonial house tour, an introduction to history resources, and a session of hands-on group study. The program covers topics which include common and indentured laborers, slave life, the life of craftsmen, gentry activities and leisure time, decorative arts, and architecture. Other topics may be added on request.

Baltimore, Maryland

Chesapeake & Delaware Canal from Chesapeake CityHistoric Ships in Baltimore’s half-day programs provide an immersive hands-on historic experience with a twenty-first century applicability that encourages team-work, problem solving, and learning. Each program provides introductory ship tours, after which students focus on two areas of the ship and begin to develop a more specialized vocabulary and skill set.  At the end of their 2 ½-hour program, learning is reinforced in a written exercise and assessment.  Assessment results are forwarded to the teacher.  Each program provides a uniquely different approach toward reading, listening, development and reinforcement, involve hands-on activities and are fun, including a live-firing of one of the USS Constellation’s cannons.

The Brandywine Valley

On Day 8, your travel program concludes with a visit to the Brandywine Valley.

Development & Conservancy Issues In the 1960s, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania in the historic Brandywine Valley, faced a possible massive industrial development that would impact a largely rural community.  Also, development plans in floodplain areas threatened to devastate water supplies for numerous communities in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware. Residents bought endangered land and founded the Brandywine Conservancy in 1967.  The first conservation easements, protecting more than five and one-half miles along the Brandywine, were granted in 1969.

Barns Brinton HouseThese Experiences have placed the Brandywine Valley communities in the forefront of responsible land use, open space preservation and water protection with a focus on integrating conservation with economic development through land stewardship and local government assistance programs working with individuals, state, county and municipal governments and private organizations to permanently protect and conserve natural, cultural and scenic resources.

In 1971, the Conservancy opened a museum in the renovated Hoffman’s Mill, a former gristmill built in 1864, part of the Conservancy’s first preservation efforts.  It contains an unparalleled collection of American art with emphasis on the art of the Brandywine region, illustration, still life and landscape painting, and the work of the Wyeth family.

US Mid-Atlantic Travel an eight-day program for Families Schools and Groups

Philadelphia, Hershey, Harrisburg, Washington DC, Maryland Brandywine Valley

Shared Mobility Calculator     Intercity Travel Costs     US Trip Planner

Arezza Bot

 

 

Build Operate Transfer · canals · Conservation · Cultural Heritage · cultural itineraries · destination management · Friends and Family Travel · Historic District · Historic Towns · hub and spoke transport · intercity transit · Maritime · Maritime Heritage · museums · Rivers · Travel · travel plan · Travel Plan Fees · waterways

Havre de Grace Maryland

rivers canals an historic district museums local artisans an underground railroad

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHavre de Grace is at the mouth of the Susquehanna River and the head of Chesapeake Bay. It is named after the French port city of Le Havre – the Harbor of Grace. During the Revolutionary War, the small hamlet known as Harmer’s Town was visited by General Lafayette who commented that the area reminded him of the French seaport.

George Washington stayed overnight in the town in 1789 on the journey to New York City for his first inauguration. During the First Congress in 1789, Havre de Grace missed by only one vote being named the capital of the fledgling United States.

Early Industry in Havre de Grace included oyster and crab harvesting as well as fruit orchards. Products were shipped to markets along the East Coast and upriver.  Havre de Grace became known for duck hunting, and was a seasonal destination for hunters who hired local guides to escort them hunting on the river and along the bay.

Havre de GraceLocal Artisans Made High Quality Decoys on Display in the City’s Decoy Museum

The Southern Terminus of the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal bypassed difficult navigational areas of the lower Susquehanna River between Havre de Grace and Wrightsville, Pennsylvania, where it connected to the Pennsylvania Canal. It was built between 1836–1840. The Lock Keeper’s house and remnants of the canal exist today as a museum.

The Underground Railroad Havre de Grace was a primary town on the Eastern Route as slaves crossed the Susquehanna to havens in Pennsylvania, on the way to Philadelphia and New York. By the 1860s, a large population of free African Americans had settled in the town, supporting independent artisans, as well as jobs associated with shipping on the river, canal and the railroads.

The Seneca Cannery, currently an antique shop, is a very good example of a late 19th century brick industrial building with its classical facade and massive stone buttresses on the rear. Many patents followed the opening of the S. J. Seneca Cannery: 1901, The Baling-press; 1905, The Cooker and the Tomato Scalder; 1917, Improved Tomato Scalder and the Can-opener; 1918, Tomato Peeling Machine.

HdG maritime museumThe Central Business District was added to the National Register of Historic Places as the Havre de Grace Historic District, which recognizes its architecture and historic fabric. A variety of museums help explain and interpret the city’s rich maritime past and present: the Decoy Museum, the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, Concord Point Lighthouse, the Lockhouse Museum, the Black wetland restorationEyed Susan paddle steamer. Havre de Grace also claims a renovated seaplane port.

The Environment the town is located on a freshwater wetland, tidal cove, and small forested area teeming with species of flora and fauna; the backdrop for generations of inhabitants, from the earliest Native tribes to the first European colonists in the 1600s, to today’s thriving 21st century community.

The Maritime Museum is a 10,000 square foot, three-story modern building adjacent to Concord Point Heritage Corridor, Havre de Grace’s historic district spanning five waterfront acres and a designated attraction on the National Park Service’s John Smith and Star Spangled Banner Trails.

Reduce Transit Times and Travel Costs on Your Next Trip

Travel Plans     Intercity & Local Transport

Arezza Bot

canals · Cultural Heritage · destination management · electric grid · Historic Towns · Lakes · Maritime Heritage · Mobility · museums · private transport · public transit · waterways

Wabash Indiana

The Wabash and Erie Canal

The name Wabash derives from the Miami-Illinois phrase water over white stones; the Miami name reflected the clarity of the river whose bottom is limestone.

Wabash IndianaThe Wabash Post Office has been Operating since 1839

The first electrically lighted city in the world was inaugurated on March 31, 1880. The Wabash courthouse grounds were lighted with four 3,000-candle power lamps suspended from the top of the courthouse. Two telegraph wires ran from the lamps to the courthouse basement, where they were connected to a threshing machine to provide power.

Wabash is Home to Several Historic Districts

Wabash and Erie Canal mapThe Wabash and Erie Canal provided traders with access from the Great Lakes to the Ohio River; 460 miles long, it was the longest canal ever built in North America. The waterway was a combination of four canals: the Miami and Erie, the original Wabash and Erie from Junction to Terre Haute, Indiana, the Cross-Cut Canal from Terre Haute to Point Commerce, and the Central Canal from Worthington to Evansville.

The Interpretive Center is an open-air village located on the banks of the canal in Delphi, Indiana. The interpretive center includes a model canal with a miniature reservoir, aqueduct, lock, and gristmill. The model canal boat General Grant shows the type of boats that carried freight on the canal during its final years of full-scale operation from the 1860s to 1874.

The Wabash & Erie Canal Association is dedicated to Indiana’s Canal Heritage

Wabash and Erie Canal Canal Park DelphiTravel along the canal was accomplished by canal freight and passenger packets. The passenger packet consisted of a series of rooms and a main saloon where meals were taken. This room was converted into a men’s dorm for sleeping. The women’s saloon was towards the back of the boat.

The Packets were Pulled by Horses and Oxen

The Route was from Toledo on Lake Erie to Fort Wayne. From here, it follows the historic Indian portage to the Wabash River, then heads downstream to Delphi and, using several other river ways, it reaches the Ohio River.

Wabash and Erie Canal Delphi

 

 

 

Connect for Travel to Wabash

 

 

Arezza Bot

 

 

 

America · Atlantic Coast · Cultural Heritage · Maritime Heritage · museums · Rivers · travel plan

Fort Washington Maryland

a Peaceful Oasis Just Outside Washington DC

By Lara Lutz   Chesapeake Bay Journeys Ft Washington Image by Steven L Markos copyright 2016

From the heights of Fort Washington Park, the shores of the Potomac River frame the skyline of the nation’s capital with the Washington Monument jutting toward the sky. Today, the city is a seat of national and international power, backed by an enormous military force with missiles, warships, aircraft and hundreds of thousands of soldiers at its disposal.

In 1809, it was defended by the earthen walls of Fort Washington, the ditch at its base and the cannons that lay inside. The fort was small, but well positioned on an outer bend of the Potomac River in Maryland, just a few miles south of the capital. Washington DC has changed dramatically over time, and the fort has too. The original structure, destroyed in 1814, was replaced by a brick fort in 1824 and later enlarged to include the long, massive walls that loom over the river today.

Fort Washington has enjoyed a remarkably peaceful riverside presence for more than 200 years. “It was never fired upon, and it never fired a shot in anger either,” said National Park Service ranger Barbara Wadding. Today, Fort Washington is a historic site and public park in the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network and the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. Its 900-acre grounds include a 3-mile foot trail, paved bike lanes on the main road, picnic areas, woods and meadows. Fishermen gather constantly near the base of the Fort Washington lighthouse on the Potomac River. Birders visit, too, enjoying the frequent sight of eagles, bluebirds, kestrels and shoreline species like blue heron and osprey.

Urban life seems far away. Combined with the neighboring properties of Piscataway Park and National Colonial Farm, the shoreline here is quivering with the tender green leaves of spring. Downstream, on the Virginia side of the river, is George Washington’s historic estate, Mount Vernon. In morning light, its red roof can be seen through the trees from Fort Washington.

Fort Washington Park Main GateGeorge Washington often crossed the river to visit this site, which was home to the Digges family, and repeatedly urged that a fort be built here

The United States had barely finished its war for independence, and tensions with Britain ran high. The Chesapeake Bay had long served as a productive means of trade and travel, but it also provided an effective approach for the powerful British navy. Its rivers ran like exit ramps toward American cities, including Washington itself.

The Potomac River was the most obvious route to the capital, but George Washington saw a way to defend it — from Digges Point. “He knew the river, and he knew this part of the channel is unique,” Wadding said. The deepest part of the river swings east along the bend, forcing larger ships to move toward the Maryland shore, closer to the fort and its cannons. “This was the most defensible part of the river, before it goes upstream and widens,” Wadding said.

Fort Washington 1812Fort Washington has enjoyed a remarkably peaceful riverside presence for more than 200 years (Dave Harp)

The fort was built about 10 years after Washington’s death and originally called Fort Warburton. It took only five years before British warships did appear on the horizon. It was August 1814, and the War of 1812 was reaching its peak. The British were advancing on Washington. Thousands of troops landed along the Patuxent River in Southern Maryland and began marching inland. Others came by ship on the Potomac. American leaders believed the Potomac would deliver the thrust of the attack and realized too late that the real threat would arrive by land. On Aug. 24, after a brief battle at Bladensburg, MD, the British arrived in Washington and set fire to most public buildings, including the Capitol and the White House. But their ships hadn’t arrived. “The river is tidal, and it put them behind schedule,” Wadding said. British soldiers reversed their march. Three days later, seven British warships appeared on the river near Mount Vernon.

Inside Fort Warburton, U.S. Capt. Samuel Dyson had some problems. Dyson had taken command of the fort only 10 days earlier. He had 56 men. The cannons had not been tested — many of the gun stations were incomplete and installed on uneven platforms. Dyson estimated that they would only be able to fire about five of the guns from inside the fort and two from a small blockhouse.

South Branch Potomac RiverTo make matters worse, British foot soldiers were rumored to be marching toward the fort to help their warships with an attack. Dyson and his officers took a vote. They agreed to destroy the fort rather than allow the British to capture it. They made an exit plan, then lit 3,000 pounds of stored gunpowder.

The tremendous explosion leveled the fort. The British then sailed upriver to Alexandria, VA, where they captured 21 vessels and raided local warehouses before rejoining the rest of the fleet and moving on to Baltimore.

Dyson’s supervisors weren’t happy with his decision or its outcome. After being court-marshaled for abandoning post and destroying government property, he was dismissed from service. The fort, however, rose again, this time with the increasingly popular name of Fort Washington. The most distinctive change was placing the fort on the bluff, rather than using the low ground by the river. “It was completely redesigned with a larger, new shape and a smaller water battery close to the shore,” Wadding said.

Today, the fort has a castle-like presence, a brooding river guardian with thick high walls and a dry moat. Guests enter the grassy courtyard through a decorative arch, where gears and pulleys mark the operation of a drawbridge that no longer exists. Although the fort was in active military use through 1946 and spawned hundreds of buildings and tent quarters on the surrounding grounds, the interior of the old fort retains a much older feel. The guard rooms on either side of the gate feature fireplaces and worn wooden floors. Light filters through tall windows, but the prison cells are dank and dismal. Along the interior parade grounds, the barracks and officers’ quarters are a paired set of two-story brick buildings, each with a tiered white porch. Modern military aircraft occasionally roar overhead, oddly matched by the eagles and osprey that weave through the air with fish in their talons.

Mt Vernon Aerial CREDIT LautmanWadding looks at the brickwork and the cannon stations, which are mostly empty, and sees signs of endless change and adaptation. Over and again, engineers tinkered with the fort to change the types and numbers of guns, update water and power sources, and convert parts of the fort to new uses. In the late 1800s, defensive batteries of steel and concrete were built around the fort’s exterior. Their crumbling remains, including a gun tower, exist in the park today.

When the Spanish-American War began in 1898, an electrified minefield was laid down in the Potomac River. Fort Washington housed the generator. But not all the changes had a military purpose. Some just made life more comfortable. For example, the well water turned brackish shortly after the new fort opened, so the residents installed cisterns to collect rainwater. In the 20th century, the vault of one cistern was re-purposed to house a power source for the barracks. Casements on the fort’s lower level were intended for cannons, but one was quickly abandoned. “The ventilation system did not function well and you ended up with roomfuls of smoke,” Wadding said. “They used it for storage and laundry.”

Another casement may never have housed guns at all. “There’s no evidence they ever put them in there,” Wadding said. “But there is evidence they turned it into a bakery.”

Fort Washington MapFort Washington became home to the capital’s honor guard and was also used for a variety of training purposes. Historic photos in a park exhibit show the impressive colony of buildings and people that once filled its grounds. Now, all but three of the buildings that grew up around the fort are gone. An old home and aging gymnasium, both sealed up and closed to the public, sit near the park entrance. A yellow brick house, built in 1921 for the fort’s commander, is perched above the river next to the fort and serves as the visitor center. As the fort lost buildings and people, the upstream metropolitan area continued to grow. Today, Fort Washington has delivered a public benefit that was never part of its plan – a large swath of preserved green space along an intensely developed urban corridor where people can walk their dogs on a riverside trail, cast a fishing line and imagine a time when this spit of waterfront land could help the nation feel secure.

Fort Washington Lighthouse a guiding light has stood at Fort Washington since 1857, when a pulley system was used to raise an oil lamp to the top of a light pole. The 32-foot lighthouse that operates on site today was originally a fog bell tower that was installed in 1882 and was modified to include a light in 1901. The interior of the Fort Washington Lighthouse is open to visitors during the annual Maryland Lighthouse Challenge.

A Travel Plan to Visit

Fort Washington Southern Maryland Alexandria VA and Washington DC

Arezza Bot