Wayfinding: Shuter's Hill

Today, Shuter’s Hill is the site of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. The hilltop was once home to an antebellum plantation and Civil War fortifications.

Page updated on Apr 2, 2018 at 4:49 PM

Shuter’s Hill 

101 Callahan Drive

01 Shuters Hill sign (click for larger image)Shuter’s Hill, a high bluff overlooking King Street, is probably named for a local resident named Shuter who lived nearby in the 1740s. The site has been visited by people for more than 5,000 years. In fact, archaeologists have uncovered evidence of Native Americans living on the site, vestiges of a late 18th century plantation, a mid-19th century estate, and Union troops from Civil War times.

Mills Lee Dulany Plantation 1780s-1850s

John Mills, a merchant, constructed an elegant mansion on the hilltop in 1781. By 1800, the property was sold to the Lee, and then Dulany, family. Benjamin Dulany, a wealthy planter, used the property as a summer home. City archaeologists have excavated the plantation laundry. The mansion burned in 1842 and was replaced by several smaller houses in subsequent years.

Civil War 1861-1865

During the Civil War, Shuter’s Hill was a focal point of military activities, when Alexandria served as a center for Union troop supplies, transport, and medical care. Two fortifications were built atop Shuter’s Hill--Fort Dahlgren and Fort Ellsworth – part of a series of 160 forts and batteries built to protect the nation’s capital, known as the Defenses of Washington.

Twentieth Century

The Wright brothers flew over Shuter’s Hill after taking off from nearby Fort Myer in 1909.

Construction of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial began in 1922, and the official dedication took place a decade later. The building is now open for public tours, and the view from the Memorial’s observatory deck is one of the best in the Washington, D.C. area.

Where to Find This Sign

In Old Town, mini kiosks are located at designated intersections along King Street, Cameron Street, and the Waterfront to provide an orientation for pedestrians. 

This wayfinding sign is located on the north side of King Street at Diagonal Road.  (For those taking the King Street Trolley, please check the schedule as times may have changed.)