Alexandria's Jones Point Lighthouse and the first of the 40 stone markers outlining the original boundaries of the District of Columbia have been named Virginia historic landmarks and nominated for the National Register of Historic Places.
Union Station in Alexandria, built in 1905 and one of the oldest and largest suburban Washington railroad stations, is expected to be named to the state register shortly, once development plans for the station and new subway station beside it are worked out by the city and RF&P Railroad.
The District markers, 3 foot high stone obelisks placed at one-mile intervals around the District in 1791, are among the oldest artifacts of the nation's capital. Many of the mile markers -- located on what are now street corners, vacant lots, alleys, backyards and parkland -- are damaged, and at least two are missing, according to the National Capital Planning Commission, which surveyed the mile markers for the U.S. Bicentennial.
For two years in a row the House has passed a bill, which has failed in the Senate, to protect and preserve the markers by putting them under the care of the National Park Service, in consultation with the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The DAR almost single-handedly has preserved the milestones, repairing and putting iron fences around them in 1915. It also is largely responsible for saving the Jones Point Lighthouse, built in 1854 and one of the oldest inland waterway lighthouses in America.
The DAR acquired the lighthouse after it was decommissioned in 1924, and restored and maintained the building until the Army took over Jones Point in 1936 for a signal corps installation. The lighthouse has been vandalized frequently, and was restored twice through efforts of the DAR and other civic groups.
The first District marker is in a dilapidated seawall beside the boarded-up lighthouse. Under the bill signed by President Carter, the Park Service will survey and restore all of the markers.