Waterways, Landings, and River Crossings
The earliest arteries of transportation were local waterways, and the first settlements and subsequent towns were established on major waterways. Landings were established at the tobacco inspection stations, and at other locations on the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers. During the nineteenth century, steamboats traveled along these 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 among others. These traditional landings and crossings are represented in the twentieth-century truss bridges, Duvall Bridge and Governors Bridge, which replaced earlier spans.
At strategic points along major roads, and especially in principal towns and river crossings, taverns were established. These businesses catered to the needs of travelers and provided gathering places for the exchange of news and opinion. 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 was significantly changed with the construction of two major railroad lines: the Baltimore and Ohio line in 1835, and the Baltimore and Potomac line in 1872. Reminders of the importance of these rail lines survive 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 Mt. Calvert.
Prince George’s County can boast the oldest continually operating 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 black-owned and -operated airport in the county.
Special activities, programs, and events are held at our Historic sites throughout the year.