Fort Washington, in Prince George’s County, MD, was in operation as an active military installation (with some decommissioned periods) from 1809 through 1946 and defended the Potomac River approach to Washington, D.C. during the War of 1812 and the Civil War.

In 1814, after burning down the Capitol and White House, the British sailed down the Potomac towards Fort Washington. Knowing it was only a matter of time before the fort would be taken, the commanding officer ordered an evacuation and blew up the fort. A month later, a plan to build a new fort on the site was begun; it was completed in 1824. In 1946, after World War II, Fort Washington was transferred to the National Park Service and the grounds were finally opened to the public as a park. 

In 2021, the National Park Service contacted the National Park Trust seeking help to complete the donation of 4.04-acres of land along the Potomac River shoreline. The property, which is the last private land inside the boundary of the park, is undeveloped and will help preserve the natural landscape along the Potomac River.

Project Details:

Project Years: 20202021 

Parcel Size: 4.04 acres  

Project Cost: $4,000

Long Term Significance of the Acquisition:
  • Transfer to the NPS will prevent further development, and maintain the natural viewshed along that part of the Potomac River.
  • It will allow the undeveloped property to be managed with the surrounding parkland, as part of the whole
Value to the Park and Public:
  • Adds to parklands, increasing amount accessible to the public
  • Maintains natural shoreline landscape, as viewed across the Potomac.
Map of project area