DC Boundary Stones Final Journey by Vaughn and Amelia

You can read Vaughn and Amelia’s first journey here, second journey here and third journey here.

Who knew a simple “I wonder if we could walk around the whole District of Columbia?” uttered between friends would result in this adventure?! This post marks the final quadrant of our boundary stones trek – the NW border. Our adventure started back in August, as we set off to walk the historical perimeter of DC one side at a time, locating as many of our oldest federal monuments, the boundary stones, as possible.

Because two stones are located on the grounds of the Dalecarlia Water Treatment Plant, which is not open on weekends, we took a day off work for this last trek. The day was perfect for celebration: Vaughn’s birthday, beautiful weather, and the PoP happy hour that night. Though the Army Corps of Engineers staff were very accommodating about arranging tours of the stones (thanks Sandy!), you do have to plan around their daily commitments. Unfortunately, we got lost in a neighborhood of hilly cul-de-sacs (the lack of a street sign caused much distress) and missed our window of opportunity to see those two stones.

We soon realized just how beta Google Maps walking directions are. It’s great that Chain Bridge Road has a pedestrian path, but the roads leading to and away from it – Glebe Road and Canal Road – are NOT safe for walkers. Running from one pseudo-shoulder on Glebe to the next while being passed by speeding vehicles, Vaughn twisted her ankle. We paused, she downed two Advils, and hobbled across the border into Maryland. While Glebe was dangerous, walking on Canal was impossible. Nada. No way. After much waiting around and debating whether to hitchhike or not, we found a cab to transport us past the pedestrian kill zone. We whizzed past the water treatment plant on the Dalecarlia Parkway and were deposited on Western Ave to resume our journey and locate the remaining stones.

Continues after the jump.

Notables from the NW border:

– HUGE homes. Like, really big. Which makes finding the stones located in people’s backyards very difficult if you don’t want to get caught trespassing- or just seem generally like a creep. One nice woman saw us looking lost in her driveway and led us into her gated back yard to view a stone.

– Granted it was mid-day on a Thursday, but our only companions on the streets of the NW DC border were landscapers, construction workers, and ladies walking dogs.

– Those landscapers were doing a great job – the combination of springtime and professionally manicured lawns made for some beautiful gardens and delightful spring smells.

– The NE boundary had Eastern Ave; the SE boundary had Southern Ave; and now the NW boundary had Western Ave. But where’s Northern Ave, and why is it not in between Western and Eastern Aves?

To cap off the day’s adventures, we ended the night at the PoP party at Social and supported a local charity by enjoying many gin sidecars.

We can’t believe this journey is over, but our adventures certainly don’t stop here. Thanks to PoPville for all your support. This is not the last you’ll hear from us!

The ultimate by the numbers
:

– “Although several have been moved or replaced, there are 38 boundary stones in or near the original locations selected by Andrew Ellicott.” We saw 34/38.

– Number of months it took us to find four days to walk around DC: 9

– Total mileage covered: ~54

Ed. Note: Any suggestions for a new adventure for Vaughn and Amelia?

9 Comment

  • I’m a big fan of local history, so hat’s off to you — Awesome work and great story! I know you’ve posted some photos previously here at POP, but do you have images of all of the stones somewhere that the public can check them out (well, the geeky public!).

    • The pics are currently on facebook only, viewable only to friends, but I’ll make a public album soon. Or maybe post to PoP flickr pool?

  • i would think that by the time Eastern, Western , and Southern aves were named, the river was dc’s other boundary, so Northern Ave, was never in the naming option. otherwise we would have had SE ave, NE ave, NW ave, SW ave.

    bu, AWESOME post.

  • The nerd in me loves this. The next adventure should be to figure out how to find the last 4!

  • Great job Vaughn and Amelia! Next adventure? Hmmm… DC’s dog parks?

  • I’m pretty sure you didn’t hobble into Maryland.

    • Technically, they crossed the Chain Bridge into DC, near the MD border. It’s possible that Vaughn hobbled up Clara Barton Parkway a bit into MD, but it isn’t clear how far they got before they caught the cab.

  • Did you manage to see the border stone at the corner of South Payne and Wilkes St in Old Town? It’s technically part of someone’s yard now, but it’s distinctive. So neat to see a part of history literally in your own backyard!

  • I’m a local history geek too! Love these posts! Good job ladies.

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