Columbia Island Improvements – Washington DC

Description

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) did extensive improvements on Columbia Island in 1934-35. Construction of Memorial Bridge and the George Washington Parkway had made the island more accessible in the late 1920s. 

A  HABS Survey describes the CCC’s work:

“The CCC enrollees were responsible for cleaning up debris, clearing, grading, selective cutting, topsoiling, and seeding and sodding the open areas located between the waterways and various roadways, a large part of which was completed between October 1934 and March 1935. 

CCC Camp NP-6-VA (Fort Hunt) also rip rapped the island’s southeastern shoreline along the Potomac River, a sea wall meant to lessen the effects of water erosion…The enrollees also created an eight-foot-wide bridle path extending from Memorial Bridge and terminating six miles downstream in Alexandria.”

Today, Columbia Island is home to Lady Bird Johnson Park, Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove, and the Navy-Merchant Marine Memorial and has been subject to considerable alteration since the 1930s. 

Nevertheless, the sea wall along the Potomac River probably includes CCC stone work; the bridle path is now a paved biking/jogging trail; some of the stone retaining wall along the trail is likely CCC in origin.

 

Source notes

Civilian Conservation Corps Activities in the National Capital Region of the National Park Service, National Capital Parks-Central, Washington, DC, HABS DC-858, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/dc/dc1000/dc1020/data/dc1020data.pdf, accessed February 2013.

National Archives Record Group 79.6.7

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee - wpatoday.org on May 24, 2013.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.

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Location Info


Columbia Island
Washington, D.C. 20037

Coordinates: 38.8823, -77.0553

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