District of Columbia Boundary Stones: Photos & Locations

The District of Columbia is a diamond-shaped square, ten miles on a side. In 1791-92 Andrew Ellicott, with Benjamin Banneker and colleagues, slashed through the wilderness, surveyed the bounds of the Federal City, and placed marker stones every mile along the edge. Many of these forty historic stones yet survive. My self-imposed quixotic mission: visit them, photograph them, and record their GPS coordinates. Here's a Google Map of the results. Click on a marker to get high-resolution imagery and a locator map for that stone. (The associated XML file contains latitude and longitude information which generates that map. See my Flickr pages for other photos and commentary. See ^z Google Maps for a directory of my cartographic experiments.)

See Theoretical vs. Actual Locations for a map showing both the measured stone positions and the positions predicted by a simple mathematical model. Note that stones NW4 and SW2 appear to be misplaced. Mark Kennedy comments, "According to Woodward, NW4 is out of place because of the geography of the area. Whenever water or hills got in the way of proper placement, they (our 1791-92 heroes) looked for an easier spot along the boundary line and then noted the extra distance (I believe it was measured in 'poles') on the stone." Kennedy also observes that SW2 "... is neither the original stone nor the original location."

Change history — stone visits & additions:

Photographs and GPS coordinates collected by ^z = Mark Zimmermann — note that some locations may be in error by several meters. For excellent historical and locational information on the stones see Mark Kennedy's Boundary Stones of the District of Columbia site, Tom Howder's Washington DC Boundary Stones page, and the Daughters of the American Revolution map and discussion; cf. DC Boundary Stones, DC Metro Area Trails and Google Map Experiments in the ^zhurnal, or send email to z (at) his (dot) com ... last update 3 Sep 2006