"Fort Hunt Park, near Mount Vernon" Top 5 Page for this destination Alexandria Off The Beaten Path Tip by Ewingjr98
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Fort Hunt was once a part of George Washington's River Farm, one of the five farms he owned and part of the Mount Vernon estate. The land was acquired by the army in 1892, and construction of the fort began in 1897. The fort was manned during the Spanish-American War, then completed in 1904. It had four primary batteries called the Mount Vernon Battery, Battery Sater, Battery Porter and Battery Robinson. In 1930 Congress approved plans for the Mount Vernon Parkway to run through the now abandoned fort. From 1933 to 1942 the Fort Hunt grounds were used by the Civilian Conservation Corps camp that was building the Mount Vernon Parkway, and the King and Queen of Great Britain actually visited the site in 1939. During World War II, the fort was used as a highly classified interrogation camp for German prisoners of war.
Some 3,400 German prisoners passed through Fort Hunt. It is said that most of the prisoners here were submarine crews, and they were actually held here just long enough to extract vital war-time information. Most prisoners stayed here about three months, then they were transferred to regular POW camps and the International Red Cross was notified of their capture. It is said that 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 1944.
Today the fort has picnic areas, playgrounds, and other recreational opportunities. The concrete batteries and numerous buildings are also preserved as National Historic Landmarks.
Fort Hunt Park is located approximately 6 miles south of Old Town Alexandria in Virginia along the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
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