Posted tagged ‘Park View Elementary’

Park View First to Host Community Thanksgiving in D.C. (1916)

November 25, 2010

Philander P. Claxton, Commissioner, Burreau of Education, spoke at the first Park View community Thanksgiving

Park View was the first Washington neighborhood to host a community Thanksgiving, doing so on November 30, 1916, in the auditorium of the newly completed Park View School. No doubt, the pride the community had in their newly dedicated school — something they were truly thankful for after years of lobbying Congress — had a significant part in mobilizing the community to organize this event.

According to an article in the Washington Times (below), the community Thanksgiving took its inspiration from the original New England event that occurred 300 years prior.

Among the special guests at the 1916 Park View Thanksgiving were Philander P. Claxton, Commissioner of Education, and President Wilson’s daughter, Margaret, who sang at the event.

You can read more and see a picture of the community in 1916 by going to last year’s Thanksgiving post.

Report of the first Park View Community Thanksgiving, from the Washington Times, December 15, 1916


Could the School and Rec Center Properties be United to Enhance the Conditions at Both?

August 10, 2010

The section of Otis Place between the school and recreation center

The Park View Recreation Center is a facility that tends to fall short of community expectations across the board. This is not to say that there haven’t been improvements over the last few years.

This past season, the Rec Center has received a pool table, ping pong table, art supplies, and new computers. This has been in response to community activism, including a very involved youth population in conjunction with the Youth Power Network that uses the facilities, working through DPR and Councilmember Graham.

Outside of the building, there is a new mural and the pool received an overhaul at the beginning of the season. There is also$1.2M dedicated to the site that was obtained for the purpose of a new playing field and resurfaced basketball court.

Yet, I can’t help but feel that these are all band aids. Rather that commit lesser amounts of money to address a basketball court or upgrade a swimming pool, DPR and the city need to look at this property with the goal of coming up with a master plan of what an ideal community center on this property should look like. From that point, working backward, dedicated funds could then be applied to implement that plan without spending good money after bad.

One idea that I’ve shared on occasion is the closing of Otis Place between the school and playground. Closing a street is not a simple thing and would not be without its critics. Being a one-way street, to assist with traffic flow it would also make sense to extend 6th Street behind the Rec Center and connect with Princeton Place. This would give residents the ability to still get to Otis Place without having to drive on Georgia Avenue. A general idea of what this would look like is in the image below.

Concept plan showing the extension of 6th and closing of Otis between the Rec Center and school

I found it interesting that this is not a new idea. The closing of Otis and uniting the property with the adjacent playground was first proposed in 1928, but was opposed by the Georgia Avenue Business men.  It was raised again in 1962.

In May of 1962 the Board of Education requested that the District Commissioners take action to close the portion of Otis Place adjacent to the recreation center making the land available for joint use. This proposal was met with disapproval from the Pleasant Plains Civic Association in September. This disapproval was followed on October 17, 1962, by Carl L. Shipley, Republican chairman for the District, suggesting that serious consideration be given to acquiring the homes behind the school along 6th Street and adding that property to the school for playground use to prevent the closing of Otis. This resulted in the Board of Education withdrawing its request entirely.

Beyond people’s natural resistance to change, is there a practical reason not to extend 6th and close one block of Otis? The extended street would take very little property away from the playground, whereas uniting the property with the school would greatly enhance the usable greenspace for the community.


Robert Kennedy at Park View Elementary

May 10, 2010
Attorney-General Robert Kennedy at an assembly, Park View Elementary School

Attorney General Robert Kennedy at an assembly, Park View Elementary School, June 6, 1963

On October 29, 2009, I posted the image above and queried readers on whether or not anyone knew the story behind the photo. The date on the photo was listed as August 29, 1963.

Well, I finally have an answer. While the year on the photo is correct, the date isn’t. The image is actually from June 6, 1963, and does indeed document a visit to Park View Elementary by then Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

On June 6, 1963, Kennedy added Cardozo High and Park View Elementary to the list of schools he’d visited delivering the message that children needed to stay in school and that their hope for future jobs was through education.

The story is documented in the June 7, 1963, Evening Star. Sitting at the end of a row of child’s-sized chairs, he led an audience participation quiz on history. This gave one of the students the opportunity to ask him when he’d become Attorney General. Kennedy’s answer was: “January 21, 1961 and I was appointed by my brother — so if you want to become attorney general yourselves, get your brother to be President.” He was also asked if he’d run for president, which he stated he was not planning to do.

When Kennedy was asked “what do you do about Alabama?,” he stated “if we feel laws of a State are unconstitutional we go to the Supreme Court and say the law should not be on the books.” This question referred to Gov. Wallace’s threat to bar Black students from the University of Alabama, a struggle Kennedy asserted would be won.


%d bloggers like this: