Government Island - Stafford County VA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member La de Boheme
N 38° 26.817 W 077° 23.294
18S E 291584 N 4258108
Quick Description: A quarry on Aquia Creek provided the sandstone for many structures and buildings in colonial America, including the U.S. Capitol and the White House.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 11/12/2010 1:18:47 AM
Waymark Code: WMA3T9
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 8

Long Description:
Government Island was the site of a quarry of sandstone or freestone that was used to build churches, homes, bridges, and tombstones in colonial times. Originally owned by the Brent family, some of the first settlers in VA, the island was purchased in 1791 by Pierre L'Enfant at the direction of George Washington to provide stone for the building of the nation's capital. It was used for the construction of the U.S. Capitol and the White House.

Other historic buildings that used the sandstone include Aquia Church in Stafford, Gunston Hall in Lorton, and Christ Church in Alexandria. George Washington even built the steps and walkways at Mount Vernon with it.

Through a series of ownerships, Stafford County eventually acquired the property in 1998. According to a news releaseClick for related article to open in new window at and tourstaffordva.comClick for link to open in new window, Government Island (also referred to as Wiggington's Island, Brent Island, Aquia Quarry, Public Quarry, and Aquia Sandstone Quarry) was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007, although the NRHP lists it as being added in 2003.

This historic island was officially opened to the public on November 6, 2010. A natural-surface loop trail leads to quarry sites that show chisel marks and trenches that were hand-carved through vertical cliffs of stone. There are foundations indicating other structures once stood here. The island is accessed via a paved path and boardwalk. Government Island, surrounded by marshland, is also a great place to observe birds, wildlife, and aquatic plants.

(Please note that at the time of this listing, there were no interpretive signs or historic markers in place, although they are planned for the future.)

For more information on park guidelines and directions, go hereClick for info to open in new window.

Additional resources:

Street address:
191 Coal Landing Rd
Stafford, VA USA

County / Borough / Parish: Stafford County

Year listed: 2003

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Event, Information Potential

Periods of significance: 1750-1799, 1800-1824, 1825-1849

Historic function: Industry/Processing/Extraction

Current function: Landscape, Vacant/Not In Use

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 1: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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garmin_geek visited Government Island - Stafford County VA 4/18/2011 garmin_geek visited it