Shame, shame, shame, if you haven’t, for the mighty river and the communties alongside it have many stories to tell. Capturing many of them is Garrett Peck, who launched his new book, “The Potomac River, A History and Guide” on Thursday evening.
Have to say the location – the Congressional Cemetery, was a bit odd. Peck explained however, that the Anacostia is the Potomac’s main tributary.
Haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, but a quick look revealed I knew less about the river than I thought.
Where does the Potomac begin? Fairfax Stone, West Virginia.
Where does it end? Point Lookout, Virginia.
What are its major tributaries? South Branch, Shenandoah, Monocacy, Anacostia and Occoquan.
Peck also handed out copies of “To Hell and Back,” an excellent article from Preservation magazine (Jan/Feb 2012). Betsy Crosby details the story of Congressional Cemetery, America’s first national cemetery (known as the “Washington Parish Burial Ground” in earlier years).
Founded in 1807 for members of Christ Church, the 35-acre plot overlooking the Anacostia became the immortal home of Senators and Congressmen, military heroes, Native American chiefs, and national figures such as John Philip Sousa. Congress did not own the cemetery or have plot rights, but was given sites and provided some funding.
After the cemetery fell into a state of disrepair and neglect in the 50s and 60s, a group of concerned citizens formed the Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery. A lack of funding limited their efforts.
In the 1980s, Jim Oliver and Patrick Crowley contributed their time and talents to return it to a place of dignity. Local citizens and dog walkers pitched in. A C-SPAN video raised awareness in 1997. Congress donated $1M, matching the funds raised by APHCC, who maintain and operate the cemetery.
Cemeterydogs.org has more info.