Government Island

Government Island (HMQFW)

Location: Stafford, VA 22554 Stafford County
Country: United States of America

N 38° 26.821', W 77° 23.283'

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Government Island Orientation

Welcome to Government Island. This 17-acre historic site is an early American quarry originally named Brent's Island or Wiggington's Island. As early as 1694, stone was quarried from this site for use as architectural trim in Colonial America. The quarry's fine-grained sandstone was called Aquia (ah qui' ah) stone, due to its location along the Aquia Creek, or freestone, for its ability to be freely carved without splitting. The stone was a desirable building material for its composition as well as its beautiful white color.

In 1791, the federal government purchased Brent's Island for the purpose of consgtruction the President's House (later referred to as the White House) and the United States Capitol. Extensive quantities of freestone were extracted from this site from 1791 through the 1820s.

As you tour Government Island, you will learn about the quarry workers, their quarrying methods, and the area's Native American presence.

The picks and mauls are silent now at Government Island.
Gone are the muscled laborers who quarried the rock.
Gone, too, are the masted ships that carried it north.
Government Island is quiet now
? ? Overgrown with oaks and maples and sticker bushes.
Only the silent stones say that
? ? This was once the nation's most famous quarry.

- Jim Hall, Journalist, July 6, 1992; The Free Lance-Star

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail

Connecting People and Places.
The trail on Government Island, along with the Aquia Landing Park and Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail, is a segment of the Potomac heritage National Scenic Trail.

An enterprise of many partners, the evolving Trail network celebrates the heritage of the Potomac and upper Ohio River basins. Between the Alleghenies of Western Pennsylvania and valleys to the piedmont and coastal plain, and offers many opportunities to explore historic sites, natural areas, and communities.

For more information, visit
Year Placed2010
Placed ByTourism and Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities, Stafford County, Va
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 19th, 2014 at 5:19pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 291600 N 4258115
Decimal Degrees38.44701667, -77.38805000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 26.821', W 77° 23.283'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 26' 49.26" N, 77° 23' 16.98" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540, 703, 202
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 167 Starboard Cove, Stafford VA 22554, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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