029-5724

Fort Belvoir Military Railroad Historic Corridor

Fairfax (County)

VLR Listing Date

2016-06-16

NRHP Listing Date

NA

NHL Listing Date

NA

NRHP Reference Number

NA

The Fort Belvoir Military Railroad Historic Corridor in Fairfax County consists of a four-mile trunk line road bed and five-and-a-half miles of sidings, including railyards, and the associated buildings, sites, and structures of the railroad that was integral to the story of Fort Belvoir’s development. The railroad was particularly important to the planning and growth of Camp A. A. Humphreys (the original name of the base) when it was established in January 1918, after the U.S. entered World War I in 1917. World War I challenged the U.S. Army to mobilize over two million soldiers rapidly and train engineers in the use of new technologies of warfare—planes, tanks, machine guns, submarines, and poison gas, among others. By summer 1917, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers arranged for all its officers and troops to be trained at one central facility—Camp Humphreys, which eventually, served 30,000 engineer soldiers. At a time when trains were the most reliable and timely overland transportation, the military railroad offered essential access to Camp Humphreys, located on a peninsula in the Potomac River then served only by steamboats from Washington D.C. The camp’s location gave it proximity to the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad lines located at Accotink, as well as the Washington-Virginia Electric Railway Terminal at Mount Vernon. Officials hoped that constructing short rail spurs would improve and ease access between D.C. and Fort Belvoir, so-renamed in the 1930s. The Fort Belvoir Military Railroad thus became a vital centerpiece at Belvoir during its early days, and it continued to serve an expanding installation throughout the 20th century, illustrating the importance of a light military railroad to an installation.
[VLR Listed Only]

Last Updated: March 24, 2023

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

Abbreviations:
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Trestle deck view, ca 1988. Photo courtesy of Directorate of Public Works, US Army Garrison, Fort Belvoir

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