Did you know that you traverse the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia when you cross this bridge? The brass lines in the walkway mark the boundaries. They also commemorate the cooperation required to build this bridge.
Follow the numbers to find out how this intersection came to be...
1. Virginia was the first colony.
The first British land grant in the new world was extended by the King to the Virginia Company of London, a collection of court favorites that had financed ocean exploration. Captain John Smith's map of 1612 laid claim to vast territory that stretched from Florida to Canada, and west to the Pacific Ocean.
2. Maryland was established by a land grant to Lord Baltimore.
After a single winter in Newfoundland, George Calvert, First Lord of Baltimore, wrote the British King requesting land in a warmer climate. In 1632, Lord Baltimore and his heirs were granted territory in Virginia to found "the province of Mariland in memory and honor of the Queene."
3. Virginia and Maryland ceded land for the District of Columbia.
In 1790, George Washington selected a site along the Potomac River for the capital of the emerging nation. A ten-mile square was laid out, straddling the river, with this cornerstone marking the southern tip. The cornerstone is still standing at the Alexandria end of the bridge, near the lighthouse in Jones Point.
4. Congress returns land to Virginia.
George Washington perhaps silencing criticism of his role in locating the seat of government so close to his vast landholdings, insisted that no federal building be sited on the Virginia side of the District. The city of Alexandria, therefore, never benefited from the growth of the federal city. In 1846, Congress agreed to return all Virginia lands to Virginia, eliciting "great rejoicing and cannon fire."