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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)
 

World War I-Era Rudder

Evidence of the Shipyard at Jones Point

 
 
World War I-Era Rudder Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 7, 2012
1. World War I-Era Rudder Marker
Inscription. In May 2000, this rudder was recovered along the banks of the Potomac River near Jones Point. Measuring over 22 feet high and 4.5 feet wide, the rudder is of the variety used to outfit steel cargo ships constructed between 1918 and 1920 at the Virginia Shipbuilding Corporation site. Except for concrete building foundations and the finishing pier, the rudder is the last remnant of the shipbuilding industry at Jones Point.

Why put a wood rudder on a steel ship?

The answer is unknown, but modifications to shipbuilding and outfitting during times of war were often completed on an ad hoc basis, and were not recorded. A rudder of this type may have been pre-fabricated by a contractor, using more readily available materials. A wooden rudder could also have been produced more quickly, was less costly than a metal rudder, and was easier to repair at sea.

Rudder

Workers found the rudder while driving piles for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Once pulled from the mud, archaeologists and historians studied the artifact. Though of slightly different shape than the one shown in the diagram at right, research indicates that the rudder is an alternate style for the ships built on site. This fragile artifact is displayed horizontally to provide better support.

Cargo ships produced by this
World War I-Era Rudder Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 7, 2012
2. World War I-Era Rudder Marker
shipyard were the first modern steel vessels ever launched on the Potomac River.
 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Location. 38° 47.563′ N, 77° 2.484′ W. Marker is in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Jones Point Drive 0.2 miles east of South Royal Street, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. The marker is under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in front of the visitors center at Jones Point Park. 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. Prehistory to Colonial Settlement (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Emerging Nation (about 300 feet away); World Wars to the Present (about 300 feet away); Mountains of Materials and Massive Manpower (about 600 feet away); The Race to Build Ships on Jones Point (about 600 feet away); Mistress Margaret Brent (about 700 feet away); The Remarkable Margaret Brent (about 700 feet away); A Tale of Three Jurisdictions (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Alexandria.
 
Categories. War, World IWaterways & Vessels
 
World War I-Era Rudder Marker under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 7, 2012
3. World War I-Era Rudder Marker under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge
World War I-Era Rudder image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 7, 2012
4. World War I-Era Rudder
Illustration image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 7, 2012
5. Illustration
Diagram image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 7, 2012
6. Diagram
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 564 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   5, 6. 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.
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