National Geographic : 1896 Mar
"FREE BURGHS" IN THE UNITED STATES* By JAMES H. BLODGETT, Late Special Agent of Census in Charge of Education Three bridges across the Potomac river connect the District of Columbia with the State of Virginia. The upper one, known as the Chain bridge, just below the Little falls, the head of tide water, is too far from dense population to be frequented by foot passengers. Three miles below the Chain bridge is the Aqueduct bridge, practically the head of navigation, since only small pleas ure boats and scows to bring stone from the quarries go above it. Along the Virginia shore, above the Aqueduct bridge, are va rious "resort houses," more or less permanent, ostensibly for legitimate relaxation and pleasure, but viewed with suspicion by the authorities on both sides of the river, justified by results of occasional raids by officials. At the Virginia end of the same bridge is a straggling group of houses known as Roslyn, a favorite place for those who want to go beyond the police restraints of the District of Columbia, and particularly for those interested in the gambling device known as policy, a sort of lottery, especially attractive to the colored people. Between the Aqueduct bridge and the Long bridge, two miles or more farther down, at the upper extreme of dense habitation, the low ground on the Virginia side is brushy, with but few houses, and is a rambling place for various kinds of boys and men, who find the towpath of the abandoned canal a convenient footway. The high lands contain the Government reservation, comprising Fort Myer and the Arlington national cemetery. Close to the Virginia end of the historic Long bridge are a few houses known as Jackson City. Freedom from rigid police con trol has made this a convenient place for gambling in various forms. Close by, known as Alexander's island, is maintained, irregularly, a race-course. Three miles farther is another race course, known as St. Asaph. A good part of the racing in sight *This article, written for THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, is less technical and has less of legal citation and quotation of authorities than a paper bearing the same title read before the Anthropological Society of Washington, November 5, 1895. The latter, valuable for purposes of reference and verification, will be printed by the American Historical Association.