Map Images

The District of Columbia 1791-2

This is a 1931 recreation of the map features for the District of Columbia in 1791. The physical district consists of a 10 by 10 mile diagonal square (partly in Virginia but mostly in Maryland) that was laid out by Andrew Ellicott and Benjamin Bannekker beginning March 1791. The City of Washington is the portion of the district on the Maryland side of the Potomac where the public buildings are.

Washington's home, Mt Vernon, is at the bottom of the map, and he owned thousands of acres within the district. The Arlington area across the Potomac from the Lincoln Memorial used to be called the Custis-Lee Mansion, in honor of the familes of Robert E. Lee and Mary Custis, who George Washington married. She owned 9,000 acres on the Virginia side.

This image shows modern day DC with the mile markers on the district boundary.

This 1792 map shows the major land owners in the city area.

The next image is a 1937 idea of the topographic features of 1791 DC. As you can see, the two depictions of the ferry road do not agree exactly, with the topo map showing a bigger detour around Jenkins Heights in the south east.

The Ferry Road connecting the Eastern Branch and Georgetown was replaced by Pennsylvania Avenue (red below). The location of the point on the river was moved to accomodate a straighter 'line of sight'. Here is Ellicott's topo map of the area, showing the DC street map.