Beck's Great Falls of the Potomac

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Great Falls of the Potomac

Beck's Falls of the Potomac

by G. Beck (c. 1748-1812)
Engraved by J. Cartwright, London. Aquatint, hand-colored; 1802.

"the celibrated falls of Potomac" to Meriwether Lewis

Notice the diminutive admirers, their arms outstretched in amazement, lending scope and majesty to the scene before them. Compare this interpretation with James Olmstead's photograph.

The Great Falls of the Potomac River, fourteen miles upstream from Washington, D.C., consists of a series of cascades and rapids dropping a total of about seventy-six feet over a pitch of two-thirds of a mile, the greatest drop being about twenty feet.1

The Great Falls of the Potomac

photo, falls of the Potomac

by James Olmstead


1. "The Great Falls of the Potomac, Montgomery County." Maryland Geological Survey,