In the distance is Jones Point, designated as the southern corner of the District of Columbia by President George Washington. In 1790 Congress established the nation's capital with a ten-mile square of land ceded by Virginia and Maryland. Alexandria City and what is now Arlington County were Virginia's contribution. In 1846, at the urging of many Alexandria citizens, Virginia petitioned the federal government and regained its territory. Jones Point, however, continued as an important landmark with the construction of a federal lighthouse there in 1856.
Photo Caption:Original District of Columbia Boundary—A 1791 map drawn by Andrew Ellicott, who conducted the land survey for the nation's capital with Benjamin Banneker. The shaded area, originally part of the District of Columbia, was returned to Virginia in 1846.
Photo Caption:Boundary Stones—Forty boundary stones, erected one per mile, outlined the District. Each included the year (1791 or 1792), the magnetic compass reading, the state, and the inscription "Jurisdiction of the United States". The District of Columbia's original cornerstone was erected on Jones Point in 1791.
Photo Caption:Lighthouse—The small white structure, visible in the distance, is the Jones Point Lighthouse. Completed in 1856, it marked the river channel to Washington's Navy Yard and to Alexandria, the third busiest seaport in the Chesapeake Bay region. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1926. Today the lights of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge orient vessels. Jones Point Lighthouse about 1929.