Oxon Hill in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Shifting Sands: The Story of Rosalie Island
You’re now standing in the cove protected by Rosalie Island, the point of first landfall for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Maryland. Rosalie Island is actually not an island at all–it is a peninsula. Indeed it is not even a natural landform. The “island” was formed from the spoils (castoff sediments) of a huge dredging operation, which also created the cove you see before you. In 1941, the operation kicked into high gear with the rapid construction of the Pentagon. During the sixteen-month construction period, sand and gravel quarried here were barged upriver to a plant used to make over 435,000 cubic yards of concrete, enough for 17.5 miles of corridors, 67 acres of parking, and 30 miles of access highway.
Due to wartime shortages of materials, reinforced concrete was used in lieu of formed steel in constructing the Pentagon. This made possible a saving of 43,000 tons of steel, more than a enough to build a battleship.
[Two Photos Courtesy of Office of the Secretary of Defense.]
Early photos show the presence of an island in this general area, but large scale dredging operations during the construction of the Pentagon in the early 1940s substantially altered landforms. Continued dredging produced a pile of sediments that became Rosalie Island, visible on the Maryland side of
[Three aerial photos of the Potomac River coastline in 1938, 1952, and 1963.] Historic photos courtesy of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project.
Erected 2009 by Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project.
Location. 38° 47.527′ N, 77° 1.337′ W. Marker is in Oxon Hill, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker is on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trail (U.S. I-95) 0.3 miles west of Harborview Avenue. Touch for map. The bicycle/pedestrian trail is accessible at the end of Harborview Avenue, north of National Harbor and west of Oxon Hill Road (MD-414). Marker is in this post office area: Oxon Hill MD 20745, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Crossing the River (approx. 0.2 miles away); Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge (approx. 0.2 miles away); A Tale of Three Jurisdictions (approx. 0.9 miles away in Virginia); John Hanson (approx. 0.9 miles away); The Race to Build Ships on Jones Point (approx. 0.9 miles away in Virginia); The Potomac Highway (approx. 0.9 miles away); Mountains of Materials and Massive Manpower (approx. 0.9 miles away in Virginia); The Fitting-Out Dock (approx. 0.9 miles away in Virginia). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Oxon Hill.
Also see . . . Eagles on Rosalie Island. In order to ensure bald eagles and other wildlife will continue to thrive in their natural habitat in the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project Area, a permanent 84-acre bald eagle sanctuary was created ... (Submitted on June 11, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
Additional keywords. Smoot's Cove; National Harbor; Bald Eagle
Categories. • Bridges & Viaducts • Environment • Man-Made Features • Notable Places • Political Subdivisions • War, World II • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 11, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,503 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on June 11, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.