Four Mile Run, Arlington, Virginia

Four Mile Run and Washington & Old Dominion Trail

October 27, 2015
In the vicinity of Columbia Pike, Four Mile Run and Trail and the Washington & Old Dominion Trail run within Glencarlyn Park. At a later date I will include another page on Glencarlyn Park.
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Four Mile Run


Columbia Pike crosses over Four Mile Run between South Dinwiddie St and South Buchannan St. It is the largest stream flowing through Arlington, draining approximately two-thirds of the County. It starts at Gordon Avenue in Fairfax County and empties into the Potomac River immediately south of Reagan, Washington National Airport.

Four Mile Run
Four Mile Run

Four Mile Run Trail



Four Mile Run
Four Mile Run


The Four Mile Run Trail is a paved trail that runs near / most times next to Four Mile Run. Sometimes crossing from one side to the other. It ends at the Mount Vernon Trail near the Airport. At the Pike the trail goes under the bridge where it continues to run parellel to the Run. The main trail is paved but there are many small paths running from it into the surrounding wooded areas.

Four Mile Run
Four Mile Run

Washington & Old Dominion Trail

Four Mile Run
The Washington & Old Dominion Trail runs from Purcellville in Loudoun and ends near Shirlington, Arlington. It is 45 miles long and has a painted yellow center line. Although it is very narrow it is actually a park, the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park is run by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority It runs paralle to Four Mile Run and Trail in the area around the Pike. Most of the trail was built on the roadbed of the former Washington & Old Dominion Railroad.


Four Mile Run
The Friends of the W & OD trail is a citizen-driven organization dedicated to protecting and improving the W & OD.

Community Gardens

At the 9th street access (which is a block from the Pike) are community gardens which are available to gardeners within the community.

Four Mile Run

Sparrow Pond

A little further along is Sparrow Pond which was formerly Sparrow Swamp. It is a Wetland that Arlington County constructed in 2002 and maintains as a stormwater retention pond. There used to be beavers in this area but the county euthanized the beavers. The U-shaped pond is actually three-chambered. The first chamber, closest to the woods where the small tributary feeds it, is a silt trap which slows the water and large sediment drops out. The bottom of the U traps other sediments still in the water and the wet land, full of water plants, turtles and frogs, runs parallel to the trail and can be seen from an observation deck.Webcite


Theres a Lot Going On


There is a lot going on in this area. We walk there with our dog Uly nearly every day. Others are walking, biking, jogging, fishing, pic-nicing and more. There is a new Glencarlyn Park project being built where the W & OD trail meets the Pike. It will include a rain garden and native plants. A bicycle learning loop and bicycle repair station. A sand play area, picnic tables and benches. Along with a water fountain with bottle filler. Once this area has been completeted I will include a page on Glencarlyn Park.

Four Mile Run
Four Mile Run

Four Mile Run
Four Mile Run

Four Mile Run
Four Mile Run



History

The Native Americans living in this area of Virginia when John Smith arrived in 1608 were the Necostin. By 1690.Native American settlements, decimated by disease and armed raids, cease to exist in what is now Arlington County. Arlington Magazine

The land along Four Mile Run in this area, belonged to George Washington and later became known as Washington's Forest. The Columbia Turnpike was built through here in 1808 to link the Long Bridge at Washington with the Little River Turnpike. Arlington Historical Society

Arlington Mill
image from Barcroft Neighborhood History

The Mill

GWP Curtis (George Washington's step-grandson), built a Grist Mill (a mill for grinding grain) near where the Turnpike crossed Four Mile Run. This mill was destroyed during the civil war... and was later rebuilt in 1880 . It was in operation until 1906 and was distroyed by fire in 1920. Arlington Historical Society

Columbia Pike Bridge at Four Mile Run
Bridge over Four Mile Run
Remaining abutment from original bridge crossing columbian turnpike
Original Bridge
image from: Barcroft Neighborhood History
Remaining abutment from original bridge crossing columbian turnpike
Remaining abutment base

The Bridge

The original bridge crossing the Pike at Four Mile Run was located a few feet south of the position of the bridge that is there today. All that is left of the original bridge is the base of one of the abutments.

The Turnpike

The Columbia Turnpike beginnings date to 1808 when Congress chartered the Columbia Turnpike Company to build a road through the newly-formed Alexandria County of the District of Columbia. Arlington County Civic Federation Alexandria County later became Arlington County.

Washington & Old Dominion Railroad

old bridge crossing columbian turnpike
image from Barcroft Neighborhood History

The Washington and Old Dominion Railroad was part of the railroad that was was orginally incorporated as the Alexandria and Harper's Ferry Railroad and construction on the line began in 1855. In 1870, after the war, the name of the line was changed to the Washington and Old Dominion Railray. Eventually the W & OD railroad replaced the bankrupt W & OD Railway. In 1945, the W & OD Railroad acquired ownership of the section of line between Potomac Yard and Purcellville. There was a station near to Columbia Pike on the eastern side of Four Mile Run.The W & OD Railroad closed in 1968.wikipedia

The property has changed hands a few times since then. The Virginia Department of Highways purchased the railroad's property not long after the railroad closed. Which in turn was bought by the Virginia Electric and Power Company as the company's power lines were travelling within the right-of-way. Later The Northern Virginia Reginial Park Authority purchased a lease agreement and additional segments of the right-of-way between 1978 and 1982. The power company retained an easement. wikipedia