Fort Hunt Park
Fort Hunt was once a part of George Washington's River Farm, one of the five farms he owned and part of the Mount Vernon estate. The land was acquired by the army in 1892, and construction of the fort began in 1897. The fort was manned during the Spanish-American War, then completed in 1904. It had four primary batteries called the Mount Vernon Battery, Battery Sater, Battery Porter and Battery Robinson. In 1930 Congress approved plans for the Mount Vernon Parkway to run through the now abandoned fort. From 1933 to 1942 the Fort Hunt grounds were used by the Civilian Conservation Corps camp that was building the Mount Vernon Parkway, and the King and Queen of Great Britain actually visited the site in 1939. During World War II, the fort was used as a highly classified interrogation camp for German prisoners of war.
Some 3,400 German prisoners passed through Fort Hunt. It is said that most of the prisoners here were submarine crews, and they were actually held here just long enough to extract vital war-time information. Most prisoners stayed here about three months, then they were transferred to regular POW camps and the International Red Cross was notified of their capture. It is said that Lieutenant Commander Werner Henke, the highest-ranking German officer to be shot while in American captivity during World War II, was killed while attempting an escape from Fort Hunt in 1944.
Today the fort has picnic areas, playgrounds, and other recreational opportunities. The concrete batteries and numerous buildings are also preserved as National Historic Landmarks.
Fort Hunt Park is located approximately 6 miles south of Old Town Alexandria in Virginia along the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
George Washington Mural - Alexandria
The George Washington Mural is tucked in where few tourists will ever see it, but where locals enjoy it daily. Where is this wonderful mural that stretches 1,200 feet (yes, almost a quarter mile), stands 10 feet tall, and depicts 13 of the most significant scenes from the life of our first President? It is along the Mount Vernon Trail, in one of the most rarely traveled sections behind the Alexandria power plant.
The mural starts with Washington's boyhood home at Ferry Farm in Fredericksburg (but not his birth home...?), then continues to show scenes of his life as a surveyor, British soldier, Revolutionary General, and his life as the President. The figures in the foreground of the painting are full sized, amazing for a mural of this length. At the northern-most section of the mural are paintings of various objects related to Washington such as the $1 bill, the quarter, and stamps for example.
The mural was just completed in May 2009 after years of work. Before the mural was finished, this was a plain old chain link fence barely hiding the coal yard for the power plant.
After we left Mount Vernon and...
After we left Mount Vernon and headed east we decided to stop at Old Towne Alexandria. It was a treat, especially at night, as they have white lights in all the trees along the street. There are many unique little shops and resturants. I highly recommmed a side trip to this quaint little town.