“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Potomac Yard in Alexandria, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Virginia's First Highways

City of Alexandria Est. 1749


— Potomac Yard —

Virginia's First Highways Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, March 30, 2018
1. Virginia's First Highways Marker
Inscription.  When Native Americans moved into the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States they traveled on the waterways created overland routes for hunting, migration, and trade. In essence, they were Virginia's first highways. These routes often followed the easiest terrain and most efficient paths around natural features and between destinations. In fact, 17th- and 18th-century European settlers frequently capitalized on the efforts of Native Americans and constructed their own roads and railroads atop these ready-made paths.

Prior to European settlement and exploration in the 1600s, American Indians in the area used the Potomac River as a major trade route and fishing ground. Many groups eventually located villages along the Potomac and tributaries to take advantage of easy access to food and travel.

"The manner of making their boats in Virginia is very wonderful. For whereas they want instruments of iron, or others like unto ours, yet they know how to make them as handsomely, to sail with where they list in their rivers, and to fish withal, as ours.
17th-century Roanoke Island Colonist

Virginia's First Highways Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, March 30, 2018
2. Virginia's First Highways Marker
Potomac Path: Native American Highway

One of the earliest land-based trade routes used by the first Virginians in the region was the Potomac Path. The Potomac Path began as a foot trail that followed a natural ridge between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers; this path was a major overland trade route for the native people. Portions of the Potomac Path were utilized by white settlers and became the King's Highway. Eventually, these routes became modern-day roads such as Route 1 and Alexandria's Telegraph Road.

When Captain John Smith explored the Potomac River by boat in 1608, he noted that people from the Tauxenent (later known as the Dogue) group lived near the future site of Alexandria. These people were on the periphery of the larger Powhatan Confederacy.
Erected by City of Alexandria.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native AmericansRoads & VehiclesSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Virginia, The City of Alexandria series list.
Location. 38° 50.003′ N, 77° 2.856′ W. Marker is in Potomac Yard in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker is on Potomac Avenue north of East Glebe Road, on the right
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when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2501 Potomac Avenue, Alexandria VA 22305, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Alexanders & Agriculture (within shouting distance of this marker); Building Potomac Yard (approx. ¼ mile away); The Bluemont Line (approx. half a mile away); The People of Potomac Yard (approx. half a mile away); Mount Vernon Trail (approx. 0.6 miles away); Corporal Charles William Hill (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Triangle Site (approx. 0.7 miles away); History at Four Mile Run Park (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Potomac Yard.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 30, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 96 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 30, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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Aug. 13, 2020