Waterways, Landings, and River Crossings
The earliest arteries of transportation were local waterways and the first settlements and subsequent towns were established on these routes. Landings were established at the tobacco inspection stations and at other locations on the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers. During the 19th century, steamboats traveled along the watercourses, stopping at old landings like Trueman Point. Bridges were built across the Patuxent River near the Duvall Sawmill, the town of Queen Anne, and Hill’s Landing to name a few. These traditional landings and crossings are represented in the 20th-century truss bridges, Duvall Bridge and Governors Bridge, which replaced earlier spans.
Taverns were established at strategic points along major roads, especially in principal towns and river crossings. These businesses catered to the needs of travelers and served as gathering spaces for the exchange of news and opinions. Several early taverns still stand: The George Washington House, Rossborough Inn, Piscataway Tavern, Hardy’s Tavern, Horsehead Tavern, and Mary Surratt House.
The way of life in Prince George’s County changed significantly due to the construction of two major railroad lines: the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) line in 1835 and the Baltimore and Potomac line in 1872. Reminders of the importance of these rail lines survived and are represented by the Bowie railroad buildings, Chew’s Bridge, and the remnants of the Chesapeake Beach railway bridge across the Patuxent River near Mount Calvert.
Prince George’s County boasts the oldest continually operated airfield in the world at the College Park Airport where Wilbur Wright conducted military flight instruction in 1909. Opened in 1941 by John Greene, Columbia Air Center was the first and only African-American owned and operated airport in the county.
Special activities, programs, and events are held at our Historic sites throughout the year.