Obscure DC monuments: Air Mail Marker hides one of the city’s wackiest tales

It’s a small piece of D.C. history dedicated to aviation, the mail, and hard landings — and it’s easy to miss!

In today’s edition of “Matt About Town,” WTOP’s Matt Kaufax takes us to another of D.C.’s most obscure monuments — the First Air Mail Marker.

When walking by, you might not even know you’re passing this forgotten monument. It looks like an ordinary rock from the road, no more than 2 feet high, with a hidden plaque on its backside.

Dedicated on May 15, 1948, the First Air Mail Marker commemorates the first time mail was ever delivered by aircraft in the U.S. … or not delivered, depending on how you look at it.

The attempted voyage took place on May 15, 1918, and was supposed to run from D.C. to Philadelphia.

But, as Matt found out, the journey doesn’t always go as planned.

Check out the video of his encounter with this monument, and learn more about its backstory, which could be straight out of a Hollywood movie script.

The First Air Mail marker is located in West Potomac Park near many other monuments in Southwest D.C., right along the water.

If you’ve got an idea for a feature story Matt should cover, reach out via the WTOP “contact us” page to submit your idea.

You can also contact Matt directly. His contact information is listed below. 

Matt Kaufax

If there's an off-the-beaten-path type of attraction, person, or phenomenon in the DC area that you think more people should know about, Matt is your guy. As the features reporter for WTOP, he's always on the hunt for stories that provide a unique local flavor—a slice of life if you will.

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