Gravelly Point

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Airplane taking off from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport as seen looking south from the Mount Vernon Trail at Gravelly Point.

Gravelly Point is an area within the National Park Service's George Washington Memorial Parkway in Arlington County, Virginia, in the United States.[1] It is located on the west side of the Potomac River, north of Roaches Run and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.[1] The paved Mount Vernon Trail travels through the area.[1]

A couple at Gravelly Point watching an airplane approach Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport from the north.
Airplane passing over Gravelly Point while approaching Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport from the north.

Aircraft spotters and others use the area to see planes landing at the nearby airport.[2] The area also has a boat launch.[3]

In 1746, a house, on a plantation later named Abingdon, existed near Gravelly Point on property that Gerrard Alexander owned. The name of Alexandria, Virginia, commemorates Alexander's family.[4][5] In 1778, John Parke Custis, the son of Martha Washington and stepson of George Washington, purchased the plantation.[4] Martha Washington's granddaughter Eleanor Parke Custis was later born on the plantation.[4] A house at Abingdon was destroyed by fire in 1930 and its ruins stabilized.[4]

In 2016, a bill was introduced in the United States House of Representatives to rename the site as Nancy Reagan Memorial Park, but it did not proceed beyond referral to a subcommittee.[6][7][8] A similar bill was introduced in 2017 and received approval from the House Committee on Natural Resources on January 17, 2018, in a party-line vote.[9][10][11]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Maps". George Washington Memorial Parkway. U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  2. ^ (1) Ripley, Amanda (2015). "Washington: 10 Things to Do — 9. Gravelly Point - TIME". Time. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
    (2) Ahmad, Zach (October 10, 2005). "Plane-spotting: At Gravelly Point park, people stop to spot". The GW Hatchet. Hatchet Publications, Inc. Archived from the original on October 13, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  3. ^ "Public Boating Access". Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Rose, C.B., Jr. (1976). Arlington County, Virginia: A History. Arlington Historical Society, Inc. pp. 26–32.
  5. ^ "The Alexander Family Historical Marker". The Historical Marker Database. June 17, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2011.
  6. ^ H.R. 5457 - 114th Congress (2015-2016) at
  7. ^ "Bill Introduced to Rename Gravelly Point After Nancy Reagan". Arlington, Virginia: Local News Now LLC. June 14, 2016. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  8. ^ Allen, Mike; Lippman, Daniel (June 17, 2016). "CLINTONITES JOIN DNC". Politico. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  9. ^ H.R. 553 - 115th Congress (2017-2018) at
  10. ^ Teale, Chris (January 17, 2018). "Beyer Blasts Bill Renaming Gravelly Point Park for Nancy Reagan". Arlington, Virginia: Local News Now LLC. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  11. ^ Simmons-Duffin, Selena (January 18, 2018). "Ronald Reagan Got An Airport. Should Nancy Reagan Get Gravelly Point?". WAMU. Washington, D.C.: American University. Retrieved January 19, 2018.

Coordinates: 38°51′54″N 77°02′21″W / 38.8651°N 77.0391°W / 38.8651; -77.0391