If you’re a frequent traveler on the Capital Beltway/Interstate 95 between Alexandria and Andrews AFB, you’ve likely seen this sign. There’s actually two of them, one just south of and one just north of Branch Avenue/Highway 5. (Exit 7)
I’ve seen it too, and like you, had other things on my mind to think much about it.
After seeing this sign again the other day, I came home and thought to myself — Prince George’s County has its share of historic sites, but it seems to me they are scattered about.
The mighty google will solve this, I thought to myself.
I let the curiosity go for a few days, but then decided to try and get an answer. I thought about using email but my luck this way has not been very good lately.
Ignoring fear of failure, I went old school. Took a deep breathe, picked up the phone, and crossed my fingers for luck.
Got very lucky and talked with a very nice lady with the Prince George’s County Visitors Bureau. She didn’t know anything about the Potomac Corridor, but recommended I contact the National Park Service. That made sense, as the sign’s subdued brown color suggested they made the sign.
Back in the day the standard operating procedure at every home and every office and every business in the country was picking up the phone after two or three rings. Would my luck hold?
Yes. On the other end was a human with a voice that sounded genuinely wanting to help.
But he, too, did not know about the Potomac Corridor. We briefly discussed the park’s system of walking and biking trails in the DMV, but no clues emerged from our conversation.
Disappointed and still wanting an answer, I decided to take a look at the list of places in Prince George’s County that are on the National Register of Historic Places.
So, how did Route 5, Branch Avenue fare?
Not too good. Upper Marlboro (20), Bowie (7) and Bladensburg (6) were the clear winners. Clinton, about three miles from the Beltway and lying along Branch Avenue, has four places. But there’s a caveat. Woodyard Archaeological Site has restricted access and The Piscataway Village Historic District is located on Livingston Road about five miles to the west of Clinton.
The other two are the Surratt House and Wyoming. The former is certainly a place worth touting. The latter appears to be privately owned.
Ok, what about the nature areas?
South of Clinton lies Piscataway Creek Stream Valley Park, a nice long ribbon of greenery on both sides of Branch Avenue. But whether or not that stands on par with a Huntley Meadows, we're not sure.
In the grand scheme of things, we know this is not a big deal. But one has to wonder how many cars have taken the bait and tried to find this mysterious Potomac Corridor.
We love ya Prince George’s County, but we are miffed on this one. It seems if there is a case to be made for a Potomac Corridor, it could be the Indian Head Highway (Highway 210). Oxon Hill, Fort Washington and Accoceek combine for a dozen sites and Accoceek has a wonderful green space.