Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Alexandria, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Jones Point Lighthouse

Shedding Light on a Landmark

 

—Jones Point Park —

 
The Jones Point Lighthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 7, 2012
1. The Jones Point Lighthouse Marker
Inscription. In the 1850's, Alexandria was one of the busiest seaports in the Chesapeake region. To help guide Potomac River ship traffic, the federal government built the Jones Point lighthouse, illuminating the beacon for the first time on May 1, 1856. It was one of the first lighthouses designed to use a new "unified" plan, combining the beacon and keeper's house into a single structure.

Among the duties listed in the manual for the keeper were to keep a journal and log of expenditures, maintain the lighthouse and grounds, employ attendants,report wrecks, and "...be courteous & polite to all visitors..." This last duty was taken to heart by a one keeper:

"Year round, after Sunday morning obligations, citizens would gather in the buoy shed near the Light House. There...keeper Benjamin Potter Greenwood would listen to the recollections of those present. They would occasionally partake in a hand or two of poker—would finish off the visit with a bit of Maryland rye (Oxon Creek stills) or 'Virginia corn.'"

(caption)
Unidentified Jones Point Lighthouse keeper and boy, circa 1905. Image courtesy of the Historical Society of Washington D.C.

(caption)
The lighthouse lantern was outfitted with a fifth order Fresnel lens, which was new technology at the time. The beacon
The Jones Point Lighthouse Marker north of Jones Point lighthouse image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 7, 2012
2. The Jones Point Lighthouse Marker north of Jones Point lighthouse
initially used whale oil, then ran on gas, was changed to a fixed red oil lamp and finally became a flashing white gas lamp.During the period that the red light was in place, the Point became known as something of a nautical "red light zone" with gambling barges and floating brothels. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

(caption)
Between 1910 and 1912, the Army Corps of Engineers infilled the cove at Jones Point. In 1926, a fully automated 60-foot steel tower with beacon was erected along the new coastline, replacing the obsolete lighthouse. Image courtesy of National Archives
 
Location. 38° 47.429′ N, 77° 2.488′ W. Marker is in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Jones Point Drive east of South Royal Street, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. This marker is north and west of the Jones Point lighthouse along the Jones Point interpretive trail. Marker is in this post office area: Alexandria VA 22314, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mistress Margaret Brent (within shouting distance of this marker); The Remarkable Margaret Brent (within shouting distance of this marker); D.C.'s First Building Block (within shouting distance of this
Jones Point lighthouse image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, February 18, 2007
3. Jones Point lighthouse
marker); First Original Federal Boundary Stone (within shouting distance of this marker but has been reported missing); The Nations Capital Begins Here 1791-1793 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Who Owns the River? (about 300 feet away); World Wars to the Present (about 700 feet away); The Emerging Nation (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Alexandria.
 
Categories. Man-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
 
Unidentified Jones Point Lighthouse keeper and boy, circa 1905. image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 1, 2015
4. Unidentified Jones Point Lighthouse keeper and boy, circa 1905.
Close-up of photo on marker
Historical Society of Washington D.C.
Lighthouse Lantern image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 1, 2015
5. Lighthouse Lantern
The lighthouse lantern was outfitted with a fifth order Fresnel lens, which was new technology at the time. The beacon initially used whale oil, then ran on gas, was changed to a fixed red oil lamp and finally became a flashing white gas lamp. During the period that the red light was in place, the Point became known as something of a nautical “red light zone” with gambling barges and floating brothels.
Close-up of image on marker
Library of Congress
Fifth Order Fresnel Lens image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 1, 2015
6. Fifth Order Fresnel Lens
This fifth order lens was actually used in the Jones Point lighthouse itself, during the 19th century. Restoration of the lens was performed by volunteers from the Chesapeake Lighthouse Society.

Mount Vernon Chapter, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution
on display in the Lyceum Museum in Alexandria Virginia
Extent of infill image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 1, 2015
7. Extent of infill
Between 1910 and 1912, the Army Corps of Engineers infilled the cove at Jones Point. In 1926, a fully automated 60-foot steel tower with beacon was erected along the new coastline, replacing the obsolete lighthouse.
Close-up of image on marker
Alexandria Archaeology
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 631 times since then and 11 times this year. Last updated on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement