Washington, DC: The Zero Milestone

In 1923, the granite marker was expected to be the milestone from which all road distances in the U.S. would be reckoned. It didn't work out that way.
Address:
E St. NW, Washington, DC
Directions:
On the north edge of The Ellipse, where it meets E Street NW. Just west of the National Christmas Tree, and just south of the White House.
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Zero marker.

The Zero Milestone

The Zero Milestone sits in front of the National Christmas Tree. Foreign tourists will crowd the milestone and have their pictures taken, obscuring the text. They must think that it holds national importance.

[Nate M, 05/17/2008]
The Zero Milestone

When this marker was dedicated on June 4, 1923, it was expected that it would be the milestone from which all road distances in the U.S. would be reckoned. Obviously people in places like Oregon and California didn't like the idea that their road markers would begin and end in the 3,000s, and the idea was scrapped. Now the Zero Milestone only anchors roads distances in Washington, DC.

It's an inscribed granite block, set inside a big brass compass on the sidewalk, about four feet high. It's popular with tourists who rest their cameras on it to take pictures of The White House, but who are otherwise oblivious to its purpose.

Zero Milestone advocates attempted to export the idea to capitol cities in all 48 states -- which, if you reflect on it for more than zero seconds, considerably cheapens the idea of a Zero Milestone. Perhaps that's why only two were built: one in Richmond, Virginia, the other in Nashville, Tennessee.

[RoadsideAmerica.com Team, 04/26/2007]

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In the region:
NASA Rocket Garden and Moon Tree, Lanham, MD - 12 mi.

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