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Get Out! Theodore Roosevelt Island


As we trudge toward spring, waiting for vaccines and dodging more infectious Covid mutations, we thought we would offer weekly suggestions for outings. Here’s our first – Theodore Roosevelt Island.

This island was originally called Analostan Island. It makes sense that the island would have had some Anacostan settlement on it, but what role it played for the area’s indigenous people is unknown. We do know that the island was cleared in the 1700s, settled and owned by the Mason family, who contributed to the nation’s founding as well as to the vile Compromise of 1850. The family built a big house, used enslaved labor on the island, and eventually abandoned it in part because of rampant malaria along the river. US Colored Troops during the Civil War were trained and housed on the island. 

You can see part of the house’s foundations. There are Wild Turkeys on the island (bird names are always capitalized, by the way). On the boardwalk, you can see one of the most northern populations of bald cypress, planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps – thank you very much, New Deal!

Go stroll around! A lot of history, good birds, good trees. Have fun!

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