Remains of Truxton Circle Fountain – Fort Washington, Maryland - Atlas Obscura
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Fort Washington, Maryland

Remains of Truxton Circle Fountain

Remains of a historic fountain that was mysteriously lost in the demolition of a D.C. traffic circle. 

For years, motorists navigated the intersections of North Capitol Street, Florida Avenue, Lincoln Road, and Q Street in Washington, D.C. by driving around Truxton Circle, one of many traffic circles in the city. In 1947, in an attempt to ease traffic congestion in the area, the circle was demolished and replaced with traffic lights. Somehow in this process the large, ornate fountain that sat in the center of the circle was misplaced after being dismantled piece by piece.

Named for early American naval officer Commodore Thomas Truxtun, the traffic circle was constructed in 1901. The fountain was moved to the circle from a park in Georgetown, across the city. Truxton Circle, at the intersection of multiple busy downtown thoroughfares, was the site of regular traffic jams and accidents. As the city grew, it was decided that North Capitol Street would need to be widened to accommodate the many daily commuters and that the traffic circle would have to be removed.

Oddly, records of where the pieces of the historic fountain were moved to were lost in the process. For decades it remained a little-known mystery—until remains of the fountain were finally identified in the dump site of Fort Washington Park, a historic military fortification outside the city in nearby Fort Washington, Maryland. Although some have voiced support for bringing the pieces back to Washington, D.C. and reassembling it somewhere, for now the demolished fountain remains abandoned in Maryland, deconstructed and slowly being reclaimed by nature.

Know Before You Go

The disassembled pieces of the fountain can be easily found behind a fence near the parking lot of Picnic Area C. The area that is now the park's dump site is behind what used to be Battery Emory at Fort Washington and also includes the remains of the McMillan Fountain. While there, the rest of Fort Washington is interesting and also worth visiting.