Fort Washington
Prince George County, Maryland
Visited 2.06.17
Visit the regular Fort Washington page here!
Fort Washington, built in the 1820's to defend the United States' capital city from the military advances of those who might wish it ill, was my first real starfort visit. After having run this site for two years, it finally occurred to me that I might actually be able to visit some of these forts that so fascinated me, and at just over 100 miles north of my home base just outside of Richmond, Fort Washington was pretty much my closest option. As it is so cozily close to me, Fort Washington has become my "home" starfort. Not in that I actually live there, but in that I have visited and explored it more often than any other starfort.
One of the things that makes Fort Washington such a great home starfort is that there's just so darned much of it! Spread over 341 acres, the extended Fort Washington is riddled with exciting decrepit military structures of old: Seven batteries, most of which are hidden from casual view; control towers; a Gym/PX building and Officer's Quarters. While the latter two are closed up tight, just about everything else is wide open for your spelunking pleasure...with just a few signs reminding visitors to please refrain from killing themselves.
I have been to, I think it's safe to say, most of this great nation's starforts, many of which have Endicott-era batteries in close attendence...but the authorities have generally made efforts to close those batteries off to explorers, lest someone sustain an injury and presumably sue sue sue.

Because Endicott batteries are prime self-injury generators, with plenty of rickety stairs, rusting pointy iron and dark fact, I even met a rattlesnake in just such a battery at Fort Pickens at Jacksonville, Florida in 2016!
Ultimately, most attempts to secure these structures from intruders fail over time: Unless a battery is patrolled regularly (and most batteries are far from a park ranger's casual daily scrutiny), folks will eventually bash their way inside and, judging by what I often find inside such structures, drink beer. Kudos to the National Park Service for recognizing the inevitable at Fort Washington!

Fort Washington Park is a popular destination for the area's dog-walkers, public car-washers and casual strollers.
Admission to Fort Washington Park is $4 per carload, but I've visited this fort several times and only had to pay once, when I stupidly went in the summer! In the "off-season," nobody's manning the little booth at the park's entrance. Instead there is a sign taped to the window saying "Please enjoy the park for free, but be sure to come back in the summertime and pay us four dollars!" or something to that effect.

As there are so many awesome structures spread over a large area to visit at Fort Washington, it's difficult to hit them all in one visit.
Fortunately, I visited many times over the past five years, and have the eight gigabytes of pictures to prove it! In addition to the starfort of our current interest, Washington DC's Potomac River approach is also guarded by Battery Mount Vernon across the river from Fort Washington, and Fort Foote, a Civil War-era effort, just up the river a ways...I've visted them as well, but as delightful as they are, they are not starforts.

But Fort Washington is. And if you were to click on any of the images on this page, you would be magically transported to the full-sized image, along with more of my musings about my visit to Fort Washington.