Visit to McMillan Sand Filtration Site

This past Saturday, September 17, the McMillan Sand Filtration site was open to visitors between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. The tour was largely organized by John T. Salatti, Commissioner for ANC 5C04 and Vice President of the Bloomingdale Civic Association, although there were several ANC Commissioners and community activists there along with Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.

While I’m sure this was announced well enough in advance, I found out about it quite late. I’ll be sure to pass on any information I get, if I get enough notice, the next time the grounds are open to the public.

The sand filtration site is one of those places that you just want to know more about. Future development of the site is difficult because the majority of the green space sits atop a vast network of sand filtration cells that were constructed of unreinforced concrete. I learned on the tour that such construction can last for years (the Roman Colosseum was built this way, commissioned in 72 AD), but it is not strong enough to build on top of.

McMillan Park was also designated by the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board as a Historic Landmark in 1991 and they nominated the site for the National Register of Historic Places as well. Wikipedia has a good article on McMillan Park and its history which you can read for additional information.


The site was in operation from 1905 to 1986. In 1987, the federal government sold it to the District of Columbia for $9.3 million. In addition to the YouTube video above, I’ve included a few additional photos after the jump.

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2 Comments on “Visit to McMillan Sand Filtration Site”

  1. ~~~mh Says:

    Sorry to have missed the tour. Hope to dig my feet into the next tour. Great green+open space opportunity for the neighborhood!


  2. […] 29th, from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Click on the image below for details on visiting. You can also click here to see photographs from the September 17th open […]


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