History & Culture

As a landscaped, commemorative road, the George Washington Memorial Parkway is dotted with memorials and places with nationally significant history. Read more about some of the people, places, and stories behind the sites you can visit when you come to the parkway.

Men in top hats pose with boats near Alexandria's wharf

The Alexandria Waterfront
From Alexandria's beginnings in the 1700s until its transformation into a residential community after World War II, hustling docks, warehouses, and factories brought prosperity and symbolized the city's wealth and energy.

Aerial view of batteries at Fort Hunt

Fort Hunt
In 1897, when the United States prepared for war with Spain, Fort Hunt was still a farm. The installation of four batteries turned it into the last defence for Washington, DC against ships attempting to sneak up the Potomac River.

Jones Point lighthouse with white picket fence

Jones Point Lighthouse
The Jones Point Lighthouse is one of the last riverine lighthouses in the country and the only one still standing in the Chesapeake Bay area. Today it is the focal point of Jones Point Park and a clue to area's history as a busy commercial center and naval base.

Old cars on Memorial Avenue

Memorial Bridge and Avenue
Spanned with "arches of ever-enduring granite" and lined with memorials to veterans of the Spanish American War, divisions of the Army, the Seabees, and Admiral Byrd, Memorial Avenue is chock full of symbolism.

VIPs gaze up at the bells in the carillon

Netherlands Carillon
After World War II Queen Juliana of the Netherlands presented President Truman with a token of a much larger gift. The small silver bell she gave him in 1952 blossomed into a carillon capable of playing notes from five octaves: 50 bells in all. The carillon and its tower are a testament to Dutch-American friendship.

Historic car driving on road.
Parkway Road History
The parkway runs along the Potomac River through two states—Virginia and Maryland—as well as the District of Columbia, protecting the landscape and natural shoreline of the river while offering magnificent scenic vistas of Washington, D.C., and the Great Falls of the Potomac.
Part of the statue (Harlon Block) is lowered into place by a crane

US Marine Corps War Memorial
When Joe Rosenthal developed his iconic photograph of six men raising a United States flag on Iwo Jima, someone said that it looked like a statue. Navy sculptor Felix de Weldon soon began work on a small model that was eventually cast in "heroic scale" to honor all Marines who have given their lives in service to their country.


Last updated: June 24, 2019

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Mailing Address:

George Washington Memorial Parkway Headquarters
700 George Washington Memorial Parkway

McLean, VA 22101


703 289-2500

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