Today we wrap up our series on Word Clouds for Historical Markers. This chapter covers Jones Point Park.
In terms of paradoxes, I would have thought Native Americans would have shown up. The explanation appears to be that alternative names were used – i.e., American Indian, Native peoples and Native Americans. So no one word showed up in the cloud.
By the way, I have nothing but praise for Alexandria Archaeology and the National Park Service for what they did here. In particular, Pam Cressey, now retired and enjoying the eagles and egrets in her neck of the woods.
And I will never forget how all this went down.
In 2010, the park closed down for a major refurbishment. At the time, Jones Point, despite having the lighthouse, had been mostly the haunt of locals and their dogs. The walk along the south side took you under a canopy of shade and gave solitude. For some, however, the walk was a little too quiet, a place where a plea for help would have been out of earshot. The first cornerstone for Washington could be seen only by leaning over the edge of land – something tricky and not recommended during snake season.
Anyway, I was working on my book so I didn’t pay any attention to this place. I knew there was the one marker on Margaret Brent. In hindsight, I would have anticipated that at least a few more historical markers would be part of the improvements.
The park re-opened in the summer of 2012. Before the official ceremony and the Grand Re-Opening took place, the barricades went away with little fanfare. I walked under the bridge and started noticing the physical improvements – the new parking lot, the playground, and the reduction in noise from the old Wilson bridge.
Then I saw one of the new historical markers - the new generation with better materials. Then I saw the key for them. 18!
As I said back then, I’ll say it again here. The City and the Park Service (Matthew R. Virta) deserve some kind of an award for what they did with Jones Point Park. It’s not just the number, it’s the research and quality of the images and texts, as well as putting everything into its historical context.
These markers also serve as a reminder of the importance of historical preservation. Some governments and Chambers of Commerce see a piece of property as an opportunity to dial up the developers and the banks.
We need new residential and businesses, but we also need places like Jones Point Park where it seemed only the Lighthouse had a story and the only built piece of real estate was the lighthouse. And yet, 18 historical markers were erected.
What does the word cloud say about the history of your community?