Standing at the NW corner of Georgia Avenue NW and Elizabeth Thomas Way NW, facing away from Georgia, you will see the Emory United Methodist Church on your right. It is here that the story of Fort Stevens begins. At the start of the Civil War, Georgia Avenue was known as the Seventh Street Pike and the fort was called Fort Massachusetts. It was named after the state of origin of those soldiers who built it, the 10th Massachusetts Infantry. Regiments from New York and Rhode Island also participated in the construction of the fort. Once completed, Fort Massachusetts boasted nine cannon that had a range of over two miles.
In September of 1861, a wife of a New York officer of the 65th New York Infantry wrote a letter home which talks of the early days of Fort Massachusetts and the forts in the adjacent area.
"Camp Middleton, Washington, D.C. Sept. 7th, 1861. Dear Mother and Brother…We visited…Fort Massachusetts, built by Col. Innes Regt. from N.Y. They are indignant that it was not called New York...The fort encloses a little brick church, which will of course be torn down if there is any trouble. The guns are already mounted and guarded."
But the fort only remained this size for a brief period of time. By early 1863, Fort Massachusetts had doubled in size and was renamed Fort Stevens. After the war had ended, this section of the fort was returned to the church. Fort Massachusetts was leveled to the ground and the Emory Church was rebuilt.
To learn more about Fort Stevens, begin walking west down Elizabeth Thomas Way along the stone wall of the church. Turn right at the driveway between the fort and the church and walk uphill. Hit NEXT when you arrive at the top of the hill.