The island is significant to the UGRR because Mason’s Island, known now as Theodore Roosevelt Island, was originally called Analostan Island and is administered by the National Park Service. It is located at the fall line on the Potomac River. The river flows to either side of the island in two channels. Theodore Roosevelt Island is located within the District of Columbia. The island is part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, a national parkway that extends almost 40 miles along the river, from Mt. Vernon to Great Falls Park. On New Years Day, 1863 President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation which not only freed slaves in rebellious states but also opened the door for formal enlistment of African-American troops in the army. The island was run on enslaved labor up through the Civil War, and is significant to the Underground Railroad because it was a site for contraband camps and, known as Camp Greene, a place for the United States Colored Troops to train. The government established “contraband camps” (for escaped bondsmen) because the influx created a demand for social services. The island was an encampment for the First USCT African-American Infantry in Washington, DC, between May-Sept 1863.
Visitor Information: Currently open to public.
Location: Theodore Roosevelt Island, Potomac River, Washington, N/A, 22101
National Park Unit: Yes
Ownership: Superintendent GWMP
Location Type: Site
People/Organizations Associated with the site: Contraband