A Lighthouse on the Potomac River


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North America » United States » Virginia » Alexandria
April 13th 2013
Published: May 13th 2022
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Jones Point LighthouseJones Point LighthouseJones Point Lighthouse

Jones Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1856 as a Potomac River navigation aid and was active until 1926. A keeper lived in the lighthouse, rather than in a separate keeper's house, to 1919. Jones Point Lighthouse and District of Columbia South Cornerstone. National Register of Historic Places 80000352. DSC_0222
Many lighthouse fans are surprised to learn that there is a lighthouse near Washington, DC, on the Potomac River. Jones Point Lighthouse is located in Jones Point Park, at the southern edge of Alexandria, Virginia. The wood frame lighthouse is no longer active and has not been since 1926. But it has an interesting story and sits on top of an historic landmark.

The lighthouse was built in 1856 as a Potomac River navigation aid at Jones Point. At that time, there was considerable passenger and freight traffic along the river to Washington, DC, as well as from the river ports of Alexandria and Georgetown and tour steamers to Mount Vernon. Until after World War II, Alexandria was a very industrial city, not the city of quaint shops one encounters today. The lighthouse was one unit, with the rotating beacon on top of the frame structure rather than in a masonry tower. A keeper lived in the lighthouse, instead of in a separate keeper's house, until 1919. After the lighthouse was closed, it was deeded to the Daughters of the American Revolution. In turn, the DAR gave it to the National Park Service when Jones Point Park, a unit of
South Corner Boundary StoneSouth Corner Boundary StoneSouth Corner Boundary Stone

South Corner Boundary Stone of the District of Columbia. Laid in 1794 to replace the 1791 boundary stone. Boundary stones were places every mile for a total of 40 stones. Located in Jones Point Park, Alexandria. Jones Point Lighthouse and District of Columbia South Cornerstone. National Register of Historic Places 80000352. DSC_0220p1
George Washington Memorial Parkway, was established in 1964.

The lighthouse is not open to visit, but there are many interpretive markers about to tell the story of this part of Alexandria. In 1791, the temporary South Cornerstone of the District of Columbia was placed at the site in a ceremony led by the Alexandria Masonic Lodge. (Alexandria was part of the District of Columbia from 1791 until 1846 when it was returned to Virginia.) The permanent stone marker from 1794 is still in place. Time and river tides have buried the marker, but it is visible through a glass-topped casing in front of the lighthouse.

Something to see at the Alexandria riverfront. Jones Point Park is very pleasant to visit on an afternoon.


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South Cornerstone Interpretive MarkerSouth Cornerstone Interpretive Marker
South Cornerstone Interpretive Marker

District of Columbia South Cornerstone interpretive marker. The boundary marker stone is located in front of Jones Point Lighthouse. It was placed in 1791. DSC_0219
Jones Point LighthouseJones Point Lighthouse
Jones Point Lighthouse

Jones Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1856 as a Potomac River navigation aid and was active until 1926. A keeper lived in the lighthouse, rather than in a separate keeper's house, to 1919. Jones Point Lighthouse and District of Columbia South Cornerstone. National Register of Historic Places 80000352. IMG_0882
DAR Marker Commemorating Margaret BrentDAR Marker Commemorating Margaret Brent
DAR Marker Commemorating Margaret Brent

DAR marker at Jones Point Park commemorating Margaret Brent (ca. 1601-1671) who owned the park land in the 17th century. She was the first woman landholder in Virginia. Placed on the grounds west of the lighthouse by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1978. DSC_0223
Spirit of Mount VernonSpirit of Mount Vernon
Spirit of Mount Vernon

Sightseeing boat on the Potomac River. View from Jones Point, Alexandria. DSC_0247


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