District Boundary Stones

As the first monuments erected by the United States government, these markers are enduring physical evidence of the national capital's establishment.

Discussion of a location for the nation’s capital began as early as 1779; however, this decision was not given active attention until 1783. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton worked between northern and southern representatives to get support for an act he wanted Congress to pass- the Assumption Act. With this act, the federal government would pay for the states’ war debts. Initially, Hamilton did not have the support needed from southern congressmen. He decided to try and persuade southern representatives by offering them the nation’s capital. This ultimately worked, and on July 16, 1790 President Washington signed the Residence Act, which decided that the U.S. capital would be established on both sides of the Potomac River, in Maryland and Virginia--just 10 miles from his home at Mount Vernon. 

Major Andrew Ellicott led the team of surveyors and commissioners who placed these markers to delineate the borders of Washington City in 1791 and 1792. 

These 40 boundary stones, located at one-mile intervals along the city's original borders, are the oldest federal monuments in the country. 

For a list of boundary stone locations and an interactive map, visit the following site: Boundary Stones of the District of Columbia.

DC Inventory: November 8, 1964 (Joint Committee on Landmarks)
National Register: November 8, 1996