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This wooded island is a tribute to the vision of our 26th President. His passion for the earth's natural places and foresight in planning for their preservation contributed to the conservation legacy we treasure today.
The island has a diverse history. Evidence shows that Native Americans used the island as a seasonal fishing village. The site was named "My Lord's Island" when King Charles I granted it to Lord Baltimore. One owner, a sea captain, called it "Barbadoes" after his childhood home. In the 1790s, John Mason, son of George Mason IV (author of the Virginia Bill of Rights), built a brick mansion and cultivated garden on the island. For years afterward, the island was a picnic resort. During the Civil War, the site served as a training area for the Union Army, including the "First US Colored Troops."
Today, the National Park Service protects the island, while providing public enjoyment. While you are here, savor the sounds of the outdoors as you travel through marsh, swamp and forest. Or, ponder the quotes on the granite tablets in Memorial Plaza.