Virginia-District of Columbia Boundary

The Pentagon and Reagan National Airport are located in Arlington County. Don't let the Washington, DC 20301-1400 postal address of the Pentagon fool you. It's west of Boundary Channel, which separates DC from Virginia, so the five-sided Department of Defense headquarters building is located in Virginia.

The Charles R. Fenwick Bridge carries Metro across the Potomac River from the District of Columbia. The name is appropriate not only because Fenwick advocated creating and funding the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Administration while a State Senator from Northern Virginia. He was also a key negotiator in clarifying the boundary on the southern border of the river, separating the two jurisdictions - and ensuring that National Airport (now Reagan National) was clearly recognized as being in Virginia.

When Virginia's grant to form the District of Columbia was retroceded back to Virginia, no one surveyed the riverbank to mark an exact line along the low water mark separating the jurisdictions. In the 1970's, lawsuits were filed to clarify the Federal land claim to the Alexandria waterfront as part of an effort to block expansdion of the Roboinson Terminal and the building of large high rises on the shoreline.

Boundary Channel at Pentagon
Boundary Channel at Pentagon, with red line showing border between DC and Arlington County

Links


Boundaries and Charters of Virginia
Virginia Places