Jones Point Lighthouse; Alexandria, VA
The stone is located in an opening in the seawall of the lighthouse at
Jones Point Park on the Potomac River in Alexandria, Virginia. The lighthouse
was built in 1855, and a seawall was constructed in 1861. As documented by
Woodward and others, the stone was hidden behind this seawall until
June 1912. Because the stone remains in an enclosure in the wall,
it can be difficult to view in its entirety.
According to the Records of the Columbia Historical Society
(Volume 2, pp. 60-61), on March 25, 1794, the district commissioners
requested that the city surveyor remove the original ceremonial
stone and "have a large stone
lettered 'The beginning of the Territory of Columbia,' prepared
and fixed at the beginning of the territory, in the presence of
some of the gentlemen who were present at the fixing of the small
stone now there." By June 21, 1794, this replacement stone was in
As Woodward noted in a reading before the Columbia Historical Society
on March 18, 1913,
"The stone is slightly varied in shape from the remaining ones, being about
eleven inches by nearly fourteen inches, instead of the usual twelve by
twelve." Additionally, as
observed in a Washington Times article from June 23, 1912,
"The inscriptions are almost illegible, only portions of the letters
being visible, these being on the southwest side, the southeast
side bears a part of the date, the figure '7' being discernible. ...
The two remaining sides are unmarked and bear no evidence of ever having
Washington City and Capital, published in 1937, states
that the original ceremonial stone was later buried beneath the fence
around St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, a short distance away. The Basilica
of St. Mary was founded in 1795, and the cemetery's first recorded burial
took place in 1798, so perhaps this burial of the
original ceremonial stone did not occur immediately.
Zoom to street map.