I recently learned a bit of DC history that has now turned into a scavenger hunt for me and a few friends. In the last 1700s, Andrew Ellicott, a surveyor who helped map the boundaries of the District of Columbia (and continued and completed Pierre L’Enfant’s work on the street plan for DC), laid a stone at every mile marker along the original DC boundary lines. At the time, the DC boundary lines formed a diamond shape that extended west of the Potomac River. Now a big chunk of that land is Virginia and Maryland, but the stones still mark the original boundary lines, or at least come close — many have been moved as the areas were developed, or when the stones had been damaged or destroyed.
I think I first heard about the Boundary Stones from a post on We Love DC. I thought it was interesting but forgot about it pretty quickly…until I noticed the stones mentioned in several other random blogs posts and articles over the next year. Then one of my friends, who had no idea I knew anything about them, sent me a site about the stones, saying that he wanted to try to find all of them. It seemed like a fun way to enjoy the last of the nice fall weekends, so we gathered a group and started planning. Finding all 40 in one weekend seemed a bit daunting so we are tacking it one side at a time, starting with the southern-most stone and working our way clockwise.
On Sunday four of us set out on our bikes to locate the first ten stones. On our bikes it took a little more than four hours, including a lunch break. That was the first time I rode my bike outside of my neighborhood in about two years…and Virginia is hilly…I am in a lot of pain now. Ten down and 30 to go!