Archive for Potomac River

Lost Washington: Norfolk and Washington’s Northland

Posted in Lost Washington, Ships with tags , , on July 31, 2009 by Kent

N&W NorthlandThe Northland was built by the Harlan & Hollingsworth Corp., Wilmington, Del., in 1911 for the Norfolk and Washington Steamboat Company. Like the Southland, she transported passengers and freight between Washington and Norfolk.
Steamer Northland Deck Plans

During the first part of World War II, she operated as a transport with the British Navy. She was assigned the name Leyden (IX-167) on May 18, 1944, and was acquired by the Navy and commissioned May 22, 1944, Lt. William S. Johnson in command.

From her commissioning until July 1945, Leyden operated as a naval auxiliary in British staging areas and French ports during the final European campaigns of World War II. Leyden was decommissioned at Falmouth, England July 23, 1945, for return to the War Shipping Administration, and was sold to the Fu Chung International Corp. November 7, 1946. She was renamed Hung Chong. She was broken up as scrap in 1955.
N&W Northland

Lost Washington: Analostan

Posted in Lost Washington with tags , , on July 29, 2009 by Kent

Map of Analostan Island from Map of the City of Washington by Robert King Plate No. 1As evidenced by the detail to the right from the 1818 Map of the City of Washington by Robert King, Roosevelt Island wasn’t always uninhabited, or even known as by its present name.

When the island was purchased in the early eighteenth-century by the father of George Mason of Gunston Hall, it was know as Analostan Island. The name Analostan refers to the seventeenth-century Necostin Indian tribe that once inhabited the area.

The land was not developed until the island and some  2,000 additional acres in Virginia were inherited by General John Mason. General Mason became one of the most prominent businessmen of Georgetown. He was a founder of the Bank of Columbia on M Street in 1793.

He developed Analostan, also known as Mason’s Island, into a self-contained estate, producing its own food. Much like today, one way onto the island was via a causeway from Virginia. Unlike today, there was also a ferry from the Georgetown shore that stopped at the island. Mason House sketch

The house was built ca. 1796, though never completed. The likely answer is that the house’s fortunes were tied to those of General Mason, who was forced to move from the island when the Bank of Columbia collapsed in 1833.

The house was primarily Federal in overall design, but  possessed several important neoclassical elements that made it advanced for its time in Washington. These elements included the porch, the stuccoed facade, and the arched windows set into blind recesses.

The property suffered several indignities after Mason’s departure. During the 1850s and 1860s the mansion was open to public use and was an army camp during the Civil War — after which it was unsuitable as a residence. It also served as home of the Columbian Athletic Club and the Analostan Boat Club after 1867.Mason House ca. 1880s

In 1869 a serious fire destroyed the interior. Another fire in 1906 caused the roof to collapse. The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association acquired the island in 1931 and donated it to the federal government as the future site of a city park. The Civilian Conservation Corps had cleared much of the island and pulled down the remaining walls of the home by  1935.Mason House ruins ca. 1905

Lost Washington: The Southland

Posted in Lost Washington, Ships with tags , , on July 14, 2009 by Kent

The Southland was built in 1908 at Newport News, Va., by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. as the SS Southland. The steamer operated for the Norfolk and Washington Steamboat Co. on the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay, transporting passengers and freight between Washington, Alexandria, Old Point Comfort, and Norfolk.

The Southland was acquired by the War Shipping Administration in 1942 for transfer to the British Ministry of War Transport. She was returned in 1943 and converted to accommodate 544 passengers  and chartered by the United States Navy, commissioned on 22 May 1944.

Southland was assigned to the 12th Fleet until 1945, when she was decommissioned and struck from the Navy list on August 13, 1945. Subsequently, the vessel was sold to Fu Chung International Corp., China, and operated as Hung Yung until scrapped in 1955.

Taking a Dip in the Potomac

Posted in Lifestyle with tags , , on June 16, 2009 by Kent

From June 2, 1923, we have swimmers on wooden structure in the Potomac River enjoying a break from school and the heat. If you look closely, you’ll notice the Lincoln Memorial in background.Swimming in the Potomac