Arlington in Arlington County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Boundary Channel
England's King Charles I granted the entire Potomac River to Maryland in 1632. Four centuries later Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia were still arguing over their mutual boundary.
Alexander's Island was one controversial site. It was known for its "bogs and swamps and frogs." At low tide the island was attached to - and claimed by - Virginia. At high tide the Potomac River encircled it, making it part of the District of Columbia.
Tensions over Alexander's Island exploded in 1904. A group of enraged men carrying axes and sledgehammers raided the Alexander Island Race Track in an attempt to close it. The District of Columbia did not permit race track betting, while Virginia did.
In 1915 the Army Corps of Engineers began dredging the Potomac River. In the process they completely removed the swampy landmass that was Alexander's Island. In its place they created the Boundary Channel, which runs beneath this footbridge, and Columbia Island, which is visible across the channel from you.
In 1934 Congress determined that, while Alexander's Island had once definitely been part of Virginia, its destruction shifted the shoreline of the Potomac River. The Boundary Channel became the new official border for Virginia, and the man-made Columbia Island was unquestionably part of Washington, D.C.
A surveyor's map from 1794 shows the narrow bog that attached Alexander's Island to the Virginia shoreline.
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 38° 52.713′ N, 77° 3.193′ W. Marker is in Arlington, Virginia, in Arlington County. Marker can be reached from Boundary Channel Drive. Click for map. The marker is on a deck before the footbridge that crosses over to Columbia Island and the Lyndon B. Johnson Memorial Grove. It can be reached from the large parking lot to the northeast of the Pentagon. Marker is in this post office area: Arlington VA 22202, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Tomorrow is ours to win or lose (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line in District of Columbia); First Bloom (about 500 feet away in District of Columbia); Navy and Marine Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); Air Mail (approx. 0.6 miles away in District of Columbia); Victims of Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon (approx. 0.6 miles away); John Ericsson Memorial (approx. 0.6 miles away in District of Columbia); Operation Restore Hope (approx. 0.6 miles away); They Served with Honor - The Persian Gulf (approx. 0.6 miles away).
Categories. • Colonial Era • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. This page has been viewed 98 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on , by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. This page was last revised on October 13, 2016.