I’ve had a fascination with highpoints from time-to-time. I’ve visited a couple of state highpoints (Mount Washington in New Hampshire and Timms Hill in Wisconsin). I even had an entry here in the Twelve Mile Circle not too long ago commemorating my triumphant climb to the summits of both the smallest self-governing county and the smallest independent city in the United States on the same day — not a particularly difficult feat as some of you may recall. So it was with great surprise and delight that I stumbled across an article in the Washington Post yesterday evening: “D.C’s Puny Peak Enough to Pump Up ‘Highpointers’.” Go ahead, take a look and come back. I’ll wait.
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The DC highpoint has now been measured at 409.02 feet and it’s exact location is 38° 57′ 06.67097″ N, 77° 04′ 33.99550 W, as provided by Highpointers.org, the group primarily responsible for making this recognition happen.
Two things surprise me about this. First, the District of Columbia was created more than two hundred years ago and only now its highpoint has been officially determined? Second, the spot people generally considered to be the highpoint was wrong. A reservoir was built atop the hill to gravity-feed water throughout the city, but apparently its construction created an artificial highpoint so it doesn’t “count.” Think of all the highpointers who will now have to return to the District to record the new spot. The part about Washington, DC bureaucracy stretching the recognition process out to five years, well, yes that I can believe. Oh, and by the way, if territory retroceded by the District of Columbia to Virginia in 1847 (Arlington County and part of the City of Alexandria) was still part of the District, then Arlington’s Minor’s Hill would be its highpoint.
The dedication is this morning (April 19, 2008) at 11:00.