President Lincoln’s Cottage is hosting their second annual Family Day this coming Saturday, September 21st. The event will be from 10 am until 3 pm. All activities are free unless otherwise noted in their press release (which I’ve posted below). For more information, visit www.lincolncottage.org/familyday2013.
Archive for the ‘Sports leisure and entertainment’ category
Grant Circle is named for Civil War general and 18th U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant. This large circle features no statue, but instead walks and attractive landscaping around a very old pine tree.
The neighborhood of Petworth dates to early 1887 when a syndicate represented by Benjamin H. Warder of Springfield, Ohio, purchased the 205 acre country seat of Benjamin Ogle Tayloe from his heirs. The neighborhood takes its name from Tayloe’s estate.
The tract, located north of Rock Creek Church Road and east of the Seventh Street Road (Georgia Avenue) was quickly subdivided. Warder and his partners planned to extensively improve the property for the construction of residential lots, including streets and avenues of the full width of the city streets conforming to the L’Enfant plan. This included the platting of two circles – Grant and Sherman.
The improvements of Grant Circle, much like the development of Petworth, was slow with little noticeable improvements until the early 20th Century. Initial delays were caused by the engineers being so busy in the spring of 1887 that they were unable to complete the surveying of the subdivision. Warder’s death in 1894 also hampered progress in the development of the subdivision.
In October 1914, Col. W. W. Harts, superintendent of public buildings and grounds as well as secretary of the Commission of Fine Arts, proposed improvements for Grant Circle and McMillan Park to the Commission. By December, plans for the undeveloped park took into account the open vista to preserve the line of New Hampshire Avenue. At this time development of the Petworth neighborhood was still a short distance to the south and west with open space surrounding Grant Circle.
The vicinity around the circle quickly began to develop in 1915. In addition to the circle fast building up with residential structures, Petworth Methodist Episcopal Church purchased a site on the circle between New Hampshire Avenue and Varnum Street. St. Gabriels church also chose to locate here. Located on the circle between Varnum and Illinois Avenue, St. Gabriels was officially dedicated in 1924.
This period of development coincided with the creation of the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial to the west of the U.S. Capitol. The Grant Memorial required the reworking of the U.S. Botanic Garden and Bartholdi Fountain grounds. When the removal of the fountain to a site at Chevy Chase Circle was proposed in the spring of 1925, it was disapproved by the Commission of Fine Arts. Instead, the Commission suggested Grant Circle as a more appropriate site if Congress was agreeable to the change. As Congress considered legislation to remove the fountain from the Botanic Garden site in March 1926, the Commission of Fine Arts again favored Grant Circle as a possible new site. Ultimately, with the relocation of the Botanic Garden in 1927, the fountain was dismantled and erected in 1932 in its present location south of the Botanic Garden.
In 1991, Metro’s plan to build the Green Line beneath Grant Circle caused great concern to the community. The 1.8 acre-park was lined with 50-year-old trees, hedges and benches. Transit officials originally proposed wiping out ten houses between Upshur Street and the circle to build a fan shaft and power station for the Georgia Avenue-Petworth subway stop located to the southwest at New Hampshire and Georgia avenues. In response to community opposition, Metro decided to build the fan shaft and power station at the circle. Construction began in 1994.
Tunneling under Grant Circle was completed late in 1997. During the three years of construction, the circle resembled a wasteland – but by December 1997 the park had been refurbished with new grass, newly poured concrete walkways, and new saplings. The park remained closed to residents until spring 1998 to give the new trees and grass time to adjust. Other than the metal grates over a huge subterranean power substation that Metro built under Grant Circle, the park maintains a high degree of its original integrity.
During the process, Metro took some unusual steps to preserve the park – including scraping up the topsoil and storing it elsewhere for three years. Metro also hired an arborist to make weekly house calls on four mature conifers in the park. The four, a cedrus atlanticus that sits in the center of the park, two rare firs and a Himalayan pine, were fenced off from danger. All four trees survived the process.
While the firs are struggling today, the white pine on the east side of the circle and the two Himalayan pines on the west side of the circle were healthy and thriving, as was the cedrus atlanticus at the center of the park.
“Another Purchase of Suburban Property.” The Washington Post, March 4, 1887, p. 3.
“Art Commission Busy,” The Washington Post, Oct. 10, 1914, p. 16.
“Bishop Dedicates Newest Catholic Church in Capital.” The Washington Post, Dec. 15, 1924, p. 2.
Fehr, Stephen C. “Grant Circle Warily eyes Going Green: Metro Line to Bring Disruption, Change.” The Washington Post, March 7, 1992, p. E01.
McDade, Matt. “Grant Circle: It’s a Sunday Kind of Place.” The Washington Post, Dec. 10, 1951, p. B1.
Nilsson, Dex. The Names of Washington, D.C. Rockville, MD: Twinbrook Communications, c1998.
“Petworth Church to Build.” The Washington Post, April 25, 1915, p. 15.
“The Real Estate Market: Effect of the Extension of City Streets Upon Suburban Property. Suburban Property in the Line of Streets. Negotiations Pending.” The Washington Post, March 6, 1887, p. 2.
Reid, Alice. “Refurbished Park Is a Reward for Petworth: Work at Grant Circle Makes Up for Some of Disruptions Caused by Green Line Construction.” The Washington Post, Dec. 26, 1997, p. B03.
“Suburban Property: Tracts Which Are Being Subdivided Into Lots.” The Washington Post, June 13, 1887, p. 4.
“Washington Park Extension.” The Washington Post, Dec. 27, 1914, p. ES4.
Mark your calendars if you’ve ever wanted to take a tour of the Soldiers’ Home that includes going inside some of the historic buildings! In order to participate in this FREE event, simply show up at the Visitor Education Center. Tours of the ‘historic loop’ begin every half hour, starting at 10:30 a.m. Tours should last approx. 1 hour with the last tour beginning at 2 p.m.
The announcement from the email blast and Lincoln’s Cottage Website is below:
At long last, the reconstruction of Raymond Recreation Center is finished. The new building hosted a ribbon cutting on March 16th and has been in active use since then. However, the outdoor playground, tennis courts, and athletic fields have only recently been completed.
Raymond is conveniently located near Columbia Heights, Petworth, and Park View, so I’m sure it will be a heavily used asset to the greater community.
In visiting the site, the outdoor spaces looked great. I haven’t had a chance to visit the building yet but have heard great things about it.
Below is the official announcement for today’s ribbon cutting, scheduled for 10:00 a.m.
GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Executive Office of the Mayor
Office of Communications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, August 9, 2013
CONTACT: John Stokes (DPR) 202.288.7275; firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Vincent C. Gray to Cut Ribbon on New Raymond Recreation Center Playground
Playground Features the Eclipse Net Climber, First in the Country
WHAT/WHO: Mayor Vincent C. Gray; Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser; Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Jesús Aguirre; Department of General Services (DGS) Director Brian Hanlon; other government officials; and ANC 4C06 Commissioner Vann-Di Galloway will join Raymond community members for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the newly renovated Raymond Recreation Center Playground.
WHEN: Monday, August 12, 2013
WHERE: Raymond Recreation Center Playground
3725 10th Street NW
BACKGROUND: The newly renovated Raymond Recreation Center opened in March 2013, and the playground is the 6th of 32 play spaces to be completed under Mayor Gray’s citywide Play DC initiative. The play space will feature new state-of-the-art equipment and an Eclipse® Net Climber, the first installed in the country. Amenities also include the “we-saw,” a multi-seat see-saw; the Pulse Tempo, an interactive, multi-sensory game; a new PebbleFlex® safety surface; bio-retention areas; ADA accessibility; an artificial turf field; game tables; a shade pavilion with picnic tables; tennis and basketball courts; and more.
Yesterday, the Historic Preservation Review Board voted unanimously to add the Park View Playground to the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites and forward a nomination for the property to the National Register of Historic Places. The vote of the HPRB supported the favorable Historic Preservation Office’s staff report on the nomination that was released last week. On May 1, 2013, the neighboring Park View School was added to the National Register and in many ways the playground can be considered an extension of the school campus.
The chief elements of the landmark designation are the Albert Harris designed field house — one of six built of which only five remain — and the role the playground played in ending segregated playgrounds in the District of Columbia. I’ve previously posted a brief history of the playground for those wanting to read more. The property has also been nominated for inclusion in the African American Heritage Trail.
Bright and early yesterday morning I, along with Alexandria resident Rick Tucker, got a preview of the Armed Forces Retirement Home’s Hall of Honor. Should you have an opportunity to visit the AFRH’s new Scott Building, be sure to check this feature out.
The Hall of Honor is part museum exhibition and part resident memorabilia. In short, the hall tells the history of the Soldiers’ Home with interpretive text, historic images, and Soldiers’ Home artifacts. Upon entering the space, the center of the room is dominated by three rifles supporting a drum. I thought this was brilliant, as it is a three-dimensional representation of the Soldiers’ and Airman’s Home seal. The case sits atop a two-dimensional version of the seal that is viable when the case is removed. Surrounding this in the floor are the seals of the four branches of the military.
In the four quarters of the room are display cases that contain memorabilia from AFRH residents. The intent is to have the objects in these cases rotate so that there is always something new to see.
Along the eastern wall is a history display, including a timeline, specific to the Soldiers’ Home. This differs in the exhibition along the western wall which focuses on life at the home, including neighborhood use of the park, as told in historic images (both Mr. Tucker and I had contributed historic photographs for the exhibit), text, and objects.
All in all, I was extremely impressed with the amount of detail and high quality of execution. One of my favorite objects was actually a poster entitled Regulations to Govern Visitors Entering Grounds of Soldiers’ Home. While weather beaten and worn, among the rules on the sign are:
- No Dogs allowed to enter the grounds of the Home. Small dogs in carriages may be taken through the grounds remaining with owners.
- Pedestrians NOT ALLOWED TO WALK ON THE GRASS.
- Equestrians not allowed off the roads.
- RACING AND FAST DRIVING IS PROHIBITED.
- Picnics and like parties must obtain permission from the Governor.
- [Men?] and boys with guns and slings not permitted to enter the grounds.
- SHOOTING, trapping, or otherwise …. game is strictly PROHIBITED.
If nothing else, the rules provide and interesting insight into another time.
Below are more photographs of the exhibition space.
Here’s an image of the Park View Playground that was published in the Washington Times on April 29, 1932. It shows Edith Heeter, 12, of 3304 Park Place and Albert Jones, 10, of 3567 Warder Street, standing on a pile of bricks located roughly where the field house currently stands. According to an accompanying article in the Times, the work of improving the playground was started in December 1931 but not finished causing neighborhood children to play in the street or on the cramped school property.
Despite the impact on the neighborhood, work to improve the site was slow in the beginning. However, intense work was eventually scheduled to begin on Monday, May 2, 1932. That work included the construction of the brick field house which was described as a “model brick structure.” In addition to the field house, the improvements of the playground included a baseball diamond, basketball court, a tennis court, a horseshoe court, a wading pool and other playground fixtures, such as sea-saws, slides, sand piles, and the like.
The Park View Playground improvements were finally completed in September 1932.
I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July. Whether you spent it at the old Soldiers’ Home, down on the National Mall, or just in the neighborhood with family and friends, I’m sure you have a night full of fireworks.
In walking around the community today, I saw many examples of private fireworks displays in the form of overflowing trashcans.
I also found the following video of the Mall celebration from YouTube user iamgoddard for those that celebrated elsewhere.
I found DCRA’s Interactive map of fireworks sales locations licensed and permitted for the 2013 fireworks sales season of interest and have included it below. Once you have navigated to the map, click on an icon (orange circle) to see the address and licensee.