Fort Washington

Resource Type

Built Resource: Fort

Dublin Core


Fort Washington


Fort Washington is a fortification owned by the National Park Service and is open to the public. The park itself encompasses 24 buildings relating to the function of the military base. These buildings include, but are not limited to, Officer’s quarters, garrisons, a magazine, several batteries, a torpedo storehouse, and the archeological remains of Warburton Manor, which burned in 1819. Warburton Manor was originally owned by Colonel Charles Digges, who entertained such famous Washington families as George Washington’s. The site of this defensive complex was chosen by George Washington to defend the new capitol of the Republic in 1794, but was not actually built until 1809. The first fort in this location, Fort Warburton, was destroyed prior to the attack on Washington in 1814. The new Fort Washington would be reconstructed on the advisement of James Madison, who first charged Pierre L’Enfant with its construction in 1815, but would later be completed by Walter K. Armistead in 1824. Few alterations have occurred on the fort since the reconstruction; only a few additional buildings had been added to the complex. During the Civil War, Fort Washington lost its importance because of the construction of nearby Fort Foote. Fort Washington was abandoned as a military outpost in 1874, only to be reoccupied for the defense of the Potomac River during the Spanish-American War and World War I. In 1946, Fort Washington became the property of the National Park Service, which has owned it ever since. The Fort Washington complex is significant to Prince George’s county for three reasons: because of its role in the defense of the early republic as it was the main defense of Washington DC for 50+years; for the archeological remains of Warburton Manor, and the first fort, which have the potential to provide historians with a history of early military occupation in the region; and primarily for its engineering importance as its construction represents the second and third periods of coastal defenses. It fits neither one nor the other of these defensive periods, but combines elements of both, making it a unique architectural complex. This is facility is currently opened to the public, but needs to be more widely publicized for its value as historic site in Prince George’s county.


Brianna Clarke

Source Then search for Fort Washington.


Sunset pictures taken by Amanda Rowley



Geographic Coordinates

Latitude & Longitude


Built Resource: Fort Item Type Metadata

Date built




Brianna Clarke, "Fort Washington," in Washington View Heritage Area, Item #24, (accessed May 18, 2021).