Glen Echo in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
This deep ravine and rocky creep are typical of streams in the Potomac River Valley. Today Minnehaha Creek flows freely through Glen Echo Park. Changes made to the creek during the past 100 years mirror the history of Glen Echo Park.
The arrival of the Glen Echo Chautauqua changed Minnehaha Creek; a large amphitheater was constructed in the creek bed in 1891. Here students gathered for lectures until a malaria scare closed the Chautauqua in 1892. Later, in 1899, a Glen Echo company developed the site into an amusement park. A remodeled amphitheater opened as the "Midway" in 1911.
Glen Echo Park's popularity again changed Minnehaha Creek. In 1956 park owners extended the parking lot by removing the "Midway" and installing a large metal pipe or culvert. For 33 years Minnehaha Creek flowed silently underground until record breaking rains collapsed the parking lot and culvert in 1989. Following the flood, the National Park Service restored the creek's natural stream bed. Look closely along the banks to spot the signs of Minnehaha Creek's past.
Two kinds of landscapes are worth looking
... the Glen widens, amphitheater like, as if intended by nature for the great auditorium to seat 8,000 people... The stream flows under the building, which together with one acre of grotto work under the stone floor...lighted by electricity will constitute one of the pleasing features of this vast structure.
Interior view of amphitheater, 1891
The Chautauqua amphitheater, circa 1891
The remodeled amphitheater opened in 1911
An extended parking lot covered Minnehaha Creek, circa 1960
The collapsed parking lot and culvert in May 1989
Restoring Minnehaha Creek, January 1991
Minnehaha Creek today: the natural stream bed restored at Glen Echo Park
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Education • Entertainment • Parks & Recreational Areas • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1991.
Location. 38° 58.019′ N, 77° 8.39′ W. Marker is in Glen Echo, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from Oxford Road south of Macarthur Boulevard, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7300 Macarthur Boulevard, Glen Echo MD 20812, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. “A riotous country jumble” (within shouting distance of this marker); The Hall of Philosophy (within shouting distance of this marker); The Glen Echo Park Yurts (within shouting distance of this marker); Glen Echo Park’s Crystal Pool (within shouting distance of this marker); The Changing Face of Glen Echo (within shouting distance of this marker); A Heroine's Home (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Clara Barton House (about 300 feet away); 1921 (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Glen Echo.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on March 17, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 393 times since then and 134 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on March 17, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.