Fort Foote Preservation Project – Fort Washington MD


A HABS Survey Report describes CCC work at Fort Foote Park:

“Constructed as part of a ring of Civil War fortifications surrounding Washington, DC, and intended to replace the aging Fort Washington located a few miles down the river, Fort Foote is the best-preserved Civil War-era fort in the area.  Some of its ramparts are fully readable and two massive Rodman cannon are still fixed on the river.  The CCC constructed a sea wall below the fort along 958 feet of Potomac River shoreline.  Built to prevent erosion of the bluff on which Fort Foote sits, the rip rapping entailed 1942 tons of ‘one man’ stone, a stone sized so that a single person could move it with reasonable ease.  The resulting sea wall was 12′-0″ wide at the base, 2′-0″ wide at the top, 2′-0″ high along the Potomac River, 3′-0″ on the landside, and 6′-0″ at its center.  In addition to the sea wall, the enrollees removed seventeen acres of debris, dead timber, and ‘undesirable plant growth’ from the site.

The 2004 fieldwork found that the sea wall, formerly 6′-0″ in height at its highest and 12′-0″ at its base, had eroded to the river’s water level as, essentially, a rock beach.  It is clear that the ‘beach’ is not a naturally-occurring feature along the Potomac, and the much degraded height stems from roughly seven decades action by the river.  On account of difficult terrain, the reduced sea wall was located with a single GPS point taken from a trail overlooking the water, about 60 feet from the edge.

 Summary: The rip rapped sea wall constructed by the CCC late in the 1930s remains wholly discernible, but at a much reduced height on account of natural erosion.”

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,, accessed February 2013.

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee - on May 24, 2013.

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Location Info

8901 Fort Foote Road
Fort Washington, MD 20744

Coordinates: 38.768629, -77.02822400000002

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