Sunday, September 20, 2009

historic Rosslyn

From a historical marker in Gateway Park, Rosslyn:
Rosslyn traditionally has served as a principal gateway to Arlington and to Virginia.  Captain John Smith explored this area in 1608.  Awbrey's ferry carried travelers across the Potomac for more than a century in the 1700s and 1800s.  The aqueduct bridge opened in 1843, linking the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal with the Alexandria Canal.  One pier of that bridge is visible today near the Virginia shore.  In the 1860s, William and Carolyn Ross had a farm in this area which they named Rosslyn. During the Civil War, federal forces also occupied the region, and Forts Bennett, Haggerty, and Corcoran were built nearby as part of the defensive line around the capital.  In the 1900s, Rosslyn was one of the several areas along the waterfront controlled by a lawless element.  In 1904, members of the Good Citizens' League succeeded in closing down the gambling houses and saloons, restoring peace and safety to Rosslyn.  In 1923, the Francis Scott Key Memorial Bridge replaced the aqueduct bridge.  Throughout the early 1900s Rosslyn evolved into a commercial and industrial area.  The 1960s marked the beginning of Rosslyn's transformation into a major urban center.
Annie King Philips, a life-long DC resident, a superb collage artist, and the creator of the Thurgood Marshall call box art, told me that, as a girl in the 1930s, she and her friends enjoyed riding the trolly out to Rosslyn.  But they wouldn't get off the trolly in Rosslyn, because they considered Rosslyn to be too dangerous and disreputable.

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