The Boundary Stones are a little-known treasure right here in the DMV area. In fact, they are the oldest federal monument in the country.The Boundary Stones mark the boundary of the original Washington, D.C., which spanned parts of Maryland and Virginia. Although it is the oldest federal monument in the country, the Boundary Stones still remain relatively unknown. While the stones may be simplistic in nature, that is a large part of their appeal. These stones were placed as markers in 1791 and have stood the test of times for centuries afterward. In 1790, George Washington was given the authority to map out the boundary of the new nation's capital which would span 100 square miles. Major Andrew Ellicott, a well-renowned surveyor, and astronomer Benjamin Banneker began surveying land to map out the new capital. After the city lines were established, stones were placed on each mile marker for reference. Each side of the stone was inscribed with the state or district it was facing. [caption id="attachment_8848" align="aligncenter" width="643"] Courtesy of Ghosts of DC[/caption]
Today, 36 of the 40 Boundary Stones remain in or near their original locations. Three of the original stones have been replaced, and one stone is completely gone with a plaque in its place. You can find out where exactly each stone is through the federal government's 2011 survey of the monument. Washington, D.C., has changed significantly since these stones were first placed. Many of the stones no longer represent the current border of Washington, D.C. Even more odd, some of the Boundary Stones now stand in a church parking lot, on a road's median, and at the bottom of a pipe at Blue Plains Impoundment Lot. Another boundary stone lives in the sea wall of a Potomac River lighthouse. Some homeowners even have the Boundary Stones on their property! [caption id="attachment_8849" align="aligncenter" width="637"] Courtesy of National Park Service[/caption] You can visit the Boundary Stones by walking along the old city line. The West Corner Boundary Stone is placed in Falls Church, Virginia, and is protected by a fence in Andrew Ellicott Park. Another stone can be found in Alexandria, Virginia, at the intersection of Wilkes and S. Payne Streets. The stone was moved 225 feet from its original location and then rotated. Now, the side of the stone marked "Virginia" and "Jurisdiction of the United States" don't even face the right territories. Another stone can be found in Seat Pleasant, Maryland, near a corner wall of the National Capitol Hebrew Cemetery. The Boundary Stones may not be the most thrilling tourist destination, but they are a fascinating historical quirk. And it's pretty cool to say you visited the nation's oldest federal monument! What do you think? Will you be visiting the Boundary Stones? Have you heard of them before? Tell us in the comments!