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Just north of Ft Washington lies another Civil War fort, Ft Foote. It was constructed on Rozier's Bluff, which stands 100 feet above the Potomac. Like Ft Washington, it guarded the water approach to the capital city. And like Ft Washington, it was never attacked.
Since the war, trees have grown up, blocking the view of the river. The old bunkers and battlements have slowly deteriorated, but are still visible. You can still see the old gun positions. This was one of the 68 forts built all around Washington, most of which are long gone and forgotten.
You may not see other visitors, but wildlife has returned. Keep an eye out, and you may see a deer.
Written Sep 26, 2008
Early in our country's history, it was clear that the river approach to Washington had to be well defended. Otherwise, the new capital city would be vulnerable to naval attack. So the first fort here was built in 1809. The present one dates back to 1824.
During the Civil War, Confederate forces were deterred from attacking the fort. The only time they struck at Washington was in 1864, when they came around the northwest side of the city and struck Ft Stephens (see my tip on that on my Washington page).
Over the years, artillery evolved. Ft Washington continued to receive more powerful guns until it closed down in 1939. During World War II, it was reopened to serve as the Army's Adjutant General’s School. In 1946, the Department of the Interior took over.
Today, the National Park Service administers this historic park. It's still in good condition. There are picnic facilities and a Visitors Center. Monthly artillery demonstrations take place in summer (see the website for details). This is one of the best examples of a 19th century military fort.
Updated Sep 26, 2008
Address: 13551 Fort Washington Road, Ft Washington, MD
Designed as a convention center, National Harbor is a new development on the Potomac. The centerpiece is the enormous Gaylord Hotel. There are also numerous stores, a wide selection of restaurants, a marina, and residential development, all in a riverfront setting. It has some fine views of the Potomac, too.
It's a good place to go just for the day. Check the website for special events.
Written Sep 26, 2008
Address: 137 National Plaza, Ste 300 National Harbor, MD