The second annual Soldiers’ Home Oktoberfest will be held on Sunday, October 6th. Details can be found on the flyer below, or at the Friends of the Soldiers Home Website.
Posted tagged ‘AFRH’
At long last, the barbed wire atop the Soldiers’ Home’s historic wrought iron fence along Park Place is gone. Back in May 2010, I reported that the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) was planning to remove the barbed wire … but this was a long-term goal of theirs. I couldn’t be happier that that day finally came to pass.
In addition to removing the barbed wire, the AFRH also plans to paint the fence. I’m not sure when this work will begin, but was left with the impression that it would be soon. I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing this work completed and having the fence once again becoming part of the beauty of the Soldiers’ Home grounds.
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:
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.
According to a press release from Lincoln’s Cottage and posted on the Friends of the Soldiers Home site, on Memorial Day there will be a “Rare opportunity for the public to enjoy free guided tours of USSAH National Cemetery and to picnic on the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home.” As I wrote last year, the National Cemetery has a special connection to Memorial Day as it is the final resting place of General John A. Logan, who is most closely association with the holiday and given the most credit for making it a national holiday.
The abbreviated announcement is below:
May 14, 2013. President Lincoln’s Cottage will host an array of activities on Memorial Day, May 27th 2013, to honor the men and women who have served in the U.S. military. Family-friendly activities include guided tours of the first National Cemetery, commemorative ceremonies honoring veterans at multiple locations, picnicking opportunities on the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home, and tours of President Lincoln’s Cottage, the seasonal residence of the Lincoln family during the Civil War. President Lincoln’s Cottage is presenting these programs in partnership with the Armed Forces Retirement Home, the National Park Service, and the Illinois State Society. Registrations requested; visit www.LincolnCottage.org/MemorialDay2013 to register and learn more information.
Download full press release here.
If you enjoyed last year’s public events at the Old Soldiers’ Home, you have another opportunity this Saturday, May 4th. According to the Friends of the Soldiers Home Website, they have organized an afternoon of games, food, and music. It is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., on the lower grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, Rock Creek Church Rd & Randolph St., NW, Washington, D.C.
The event is FREE, rain or shine. There is a $5 charge per car for those who drive in.
In addition to the fun and games, Brookland landscape architect Mary Pat Rowan will lead a 60-minute nature walk starting at 2 p.m. The walk will begin and end at the gazebo next to the pond at the Armed Forces Retirement Home.
It certainly looks like a great way to enjoy the weekend. It’s also great to see everything that the Friends of the Soldiers Home, partnering with the Armed Forces Retirement Home, has been able to accomplish in the past year.
With the warm weather, the community garden season is about to begin. In addition to both Wangari and the Bruce Monroe gardens, gardening at the Old Soldiers’ Home is about to begin.
A week ago, equipment was brought in to begin the process of preparing the AFRH garden plots near the intersection of Park Place and Rock Creek Church Road. They are scheduled to be done today so that gardening can begin.
Among the reasons I’m so excited by the start of gardening season are that it is a restful activity similar to going to the country (even though you’re still in the city) and that last year we had a significant amount of surplus produce that we donated to the Senior Wellness Center. I’m hoping this year is as successful.
Yesterday, the new Friends of the Soldiers Home Website announced the Soldiers’ Home Garden Project would have a second season. According to the announcement space is limited. The number of volunteers will be determined by the number of AFRH residents interested in gardening.
Last year’s gardening experience was unbelievable. Not only was working with the retired soldiers rewarding, but being on the grounds of the AFRH was very Zen-like. It was very easy to forget that one was still in the middle of a major urban environment.
Lastly — and as stated on the Friends Website — whether you would be new to the program or returning from last year, you must express an interest by e-mailing Carrie Green by no later than Wednesday, March 27 at gardenerofsoldiers @ gmail.com Carrie is the coordinator of the garden project for Friends of the Soldiers Home. Additional details are located on the Friends Website.
The Sunday Washington Post Magazine featured the Friends of the Soldiers Home group — and by extension the Armed Forced Retirement Home and Park View community — in Emily Wax’s article Can Soldiers’ Home residents and urban gentrifiers overcome barbed wire? I found it to be a great read and the feature includes a number of videos and side articles. It’s amazing to see what this group has done since Park View resident John Hughes first set up a meeting to discuss the possibilities of a partnership between the surrounding neighborhoods and the AFRH in November 2011.
Below are the video’s associated with the full article:
Community outreach at the Home — The group “Friends of the Soldiers’ Home” volunteers at the Home by helping with bingo nights, happy hour events and other festivities. (video by Whitney Shefte/ The Washington Post — March 1, 2013)
A gem for the nation — John Hughes, president of the community group “Friends of the Soldiers’ home” encourages people to get to know the Home in the same way they know about other national landmarks. (video by Whitney Shefte/ The Washington Post — March 1, 2013)
History of the Home –The Armed Forces Retirement Home in northwest Washington, D.C., opened in 1851. (video by Whitney Shefte/ The Washington Post — March 1, 2013)
And finally …
Park View of the Past –The Armed Forces Retirement Home grounds in northwest Washington, D.C., used to be open to the public. (video by Whitney Shefte/ The Washington Post — March 1, 2013)