World War I-Era Rudder

World War I-Era Rudder (HM1632)

Location: Alexandria, VA 22314
Buy Virginia State flags at!
Country: United States of America
Buy United States of America flags at!

N 38° 47.563', W 77° 2.484'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites

Evidence of the Shipyard at Jones Point

In May 2000, this rudder was recovered along the banks of the Potomac River near Jones Point. Measuring over 22 feet high and 4.5 feet wide, the rudder is of the variety used to outfit steel cargo ships constructed between 1918 and 1920 at the Virginia Shipbuilding Corporation site. Except for concrete building foundations and the finishing pier, the rudder is the last remnant of the shipbuilding industry at Jones Point.

Why put a wood rudder on a steel ship?

The answer is unknown, but modifications to shipbuilding and outfitting during times of war were often completed on an ad hoc basis, and were not recorded. A rudder of this type may have been pre-fabricated by a contractor, using more readily available materials. A wooden rudder could also have been produced more quickly, was less costly than a metal rudder, and was easier to repair at sea.


Workers found the rudder while driving piles for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Once pulled from the mud, archaeologists and historians studied the artifact. Though of slightly different shape than the one shown in the diagram at right, research indicates that the rudder is an alternate style for the ships built on site. This fragile artifact is displayed horizontally to provide better support.

Cargo ships produced by this shipyard were the first modern steel vessels ever launched on the Potomac River.
HM NumberHM1632
Placed ByNational Park Service
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 at 7:24am PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 322708 N 4295753
Decimal Degrees38.79271667, -77.04140000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 47.563', W 77° 2.484'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 47' 33.78" N, 77° 2' 29.04" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202, 703, 571
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 116-120 Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge, Alexandria VA 22314, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. Is this marker part of a series?
  2. What historical period does the marker represent?
  3. What historical place does the marker represent?
  4. What type of marker is it?
  5. What class is the marker?
  6. What style is the marker?
  7. Does the marker have a number?
  8. What year was the marker erected?
  9. This marker needs at least one picture.
  10. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  11. Is the marker in the median?