“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Reston in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

John Wesley Powell (1834-1902)

Explorer, Geologist, Ethnologist


— USGS: Science for a changing world —

John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) Marker image. Click for full size.
June 10, 2019
1. John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) Marker
Inscription.  The man who would become the second Director of the Geologic Survey, grew up exploring and teaching himself about natural history. In 1861, he enlisted in the Union Army, was commissioned as an artillery officer, lost his right forearm to a Confederate Minié ball at the Battle of Shiloh, promptly returned to active duty, and was promoted to the rank of Major. After the Civil War, he resumed exploring, leading several expeditions including a daring 99-day voyage down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon that made him famous.

In the following years, Powell led several geologic and ethnological explorations in Arizona and Utah under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution. His reports of the West contained much insightful information about Native Americans. In 1877 he published a pioneering work on Indian languages that led to his appointment in 1879 as the first Director of the U.S. Bureau of Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institution, a post held simultaneously while serving as the second Director of the USGS (1881-1894). He continued to direct the Bureau of Ethnology until his death in 1902.

Powell was widely recognized
John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) Marker image. Click for full size.
June 10, 2019
2. John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) Marker
as one of the leading scientists of his era. He was a founder and president of the Cosmos Club in Washington, a founder and president of the Anthropological Society of Washington, and an organizer of the Geological Society of Washington. He helped establish the National Geographic Society and Geologic Society of America. In 1888, he was elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, then considered the highest honor for the American scientist. He also received honorary degrees from several universities at home and abroad.
Erected by United States Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Location. 38° 56.899′ N, 77° 22.135′ W. Marker is in Reston, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker can be reached from U.S. Geological Survey Drive south of Sunrise Valley Drive, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston VA 20191, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Julia Anna Gardner (1882-1960), Ph.D. (a few steps from this marker); Randolph Wilson Bromery (1926-2013), Ph.D. (a few steps from this marker); Veteran's Memorial (a few steps from this marker); "October Glory" Red Maple (within shouting distance
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of this marker); Sunset Hills Station (approx. 1.1 miles away); Train Wrecks (approx. 1.1 miles away); Herndon: A Summer Resort (approx. 1½ miles away); Herndon Fortnightly Club (approx. 1.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Reston.
Categories. ExplorationScience & MedicineWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels

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Credits. This page was last revised on June 10, 2019. This page originally submitted on June 10, 2019. This page has been viewed 47 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 10, 2019.
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