Fort Hunt Park

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Fort Hunt
Entrance to the park
Fort Hunt Park is located in Virginia
Fort Hunt Park
Location Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy., Alexandria, Virginia
Coordinates 38°42′53″N 77°03′11″W / 38.71472°N 77.05306°W / 38.71472; -77.05306Coordinates: 38°42′53″N 77°03′11″W / 38.71472°N 77.05306°W / 38.71472; -77.05306
Area 136 acres (55 ha)
Built 1897 (1897)
Built by U.S. Army
Architectural style Endicott system
Website Fort Hunt Park
NRHP reference # 80000353[1]
VLR # 029-0103
Significant dates
Added to NRHP March 26, 1980
Designated VLR December 18, 1979[2]

Fort Hunt Park is a public park located in Fort Hunt, Fairfax County, Virginia. It is administered by the National Park Service as part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The park preserves the remains of the eponymous Fort Hunt, portions of which date to the time of the Spanish–American War. Remains of several of the fort's original batteries, including Battery Mount Vernon, Battery Robinson, and Battery Sater, and Battery Porter (named after Lt. James Porter, an officer who was killed at Custer's Last Stand at the Little Bighorn.[3]), have been preserved, and may still be visited today. The structures have been stabilized enough that visitors are able to climb on them without difficulty. Besides the batteries, the battery commander's station still stands; in addition, a flagpole has been erected as a memorial to the intelligence officers who served at the fort during World War II.

Fort Hunt Park is open from dawn until dusk, year-round; access is from the George Washington Memorial Parkway or from Fort Hunt Road.


Typical seacoast battery circa 1910, similar to those at Fort Hunt

Fort Hunt is located along the Potomac River just 11 miles south of Washington, D. C. Its proximity to the Nation's capital dramatically affected the land use history. What occurred on this site frequently mirrored the political and social history of the United States. The site began its existence as a portion of George Washington's River Farm; though it passed out of Washington's family's hands around the beginning of the 19th century, it remained farmland until not long after the American Civil War. A fort was constructed on the site as part of a plan, developed in the 1880s, to expand and strengthen fortifications around the city of Washington. Fort Hunt was planned to complement Fort Washington, located just across the Potomac River in Maryland, and was completed in time for the Spanish–American War, though it did not see action in that conflict. On June 11, 1932 General Douglas MacArthur established a field hospital at Fort Hunt to serve military veterans known as Bonus Marchers who were camped in the Anacostia and Hains Point areas of the District of Columbia.[4] In the 1930s the site was converted into a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. During World War II it was the setting for top secret World War II military intelligence operations (known as "P.O. Box 1142") as well as an interrogation center for high-value prisoners of war.[5] At one time the United States Army ran a school of finance there, but this did not last long. Today, the park is a popular picnic and jogging area. A playground and sports facilities are also available, and the United States Park Police man a substation at the park, as well as stables for their police horses.[6][7]

Lieutenant Commander Werner Henke, the highest-ranking German officer to be shot while in American captivity during World War II, was killed while attempting an escape from Fort Hunt in June 1944.[8] He was later buried in the post cemetery on Fort Meade, Maryland. In 1980, the remaining structures at the site were added to the National Register of Historic Places as the Fort Hunt Historic District.

The surrounding community of Fort Hunt, Virginia takes its name from the original fort.



  1. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Elihu Root, Elihu Root collection of United States documents: Ser. A.-F.] General Orders, No. 78 (U.S., 1903), pg. 6)
  4. ^ Dickson, Paul and Thomas B. Allen. The Bonus Army, p. 107, Walker & Co., New York, 2004
  5. ^ Dvorak, Petula (October 6, 2007). "Fort Hunt's Quiet Men Break Silence on WWII". Washington Post. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Fort Hunt – The Forgotten Story". National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  7. ^ Fessler, Pam (2008-08-18). "Breaking The Silence Of A Secret POW Camp". Morning Edition. NPR. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  8. ^ Moore, John Hammond (2006). The Faustball Tunnel: German POWs in America And Their Great Escape. Naval Institute Press. p. 53. 

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