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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Mahaning Heights in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

“What Magic Has Been Wrought Here”

A Self-Reliant People

 

—Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail —

 
“What Magic Has Been Wrought Here” Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
1. “What Magic Has Been Wrought Here” Marker
Inscription. On, May 18,1966, Crowds Gathered here to witness Lady Bird Johnson (1912-2007) rededicate eight acres of Watts Branch Park.

“No one more than the residents of this area knows what magic has been wrought here at Watts Branch,” observed the First Lady. Hundreds of volunteers had cleared tons of garbage, replacing it with flower beds, trees, and well-manicured grass. But Lady Bird Johnson's Capital Beautification initiative didn't stop with surface beauty. She raised America's awareness of the threats from pollution, urban decay, and lack of recreational opportunities.

Despite the attention to Watts Branch, city officials ignored the blight of Kenilworth Dump, formerly located across the railroad tracks to your right. Back in 1942, when they selected the dump's location, officials simply saw it as remote from downtown. They ignored how close it was to River Terrace, Deanwood, and surrounding communities. For decades, smoke from burning garbage polluted the air and land, and toxic run-off contaminated the landscape, Watts Branch, and the Anacostia.

Still people found ways to benefit from the dump. Some adults tracked the arrival of department store trucks filled with useable goods and recycled them, often repairing them for their use or for sale. Longtime
“What Magic Has Been Wrought Here” Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
2. “What Magic Has Been Wrought Here” Marker
resident Thomas Childs recalled childhood adventures in the dump. “We would take our wagons and … go shopping” for parts to make go-carts. Despite continuous complaints, Kenilworth Dump was not closed until 1968, after seven-year-old Kelvin Mock died tragically in a pile of burning trash. Although illegal dumping continued into the 1990s, the reclaimed grounds now offer public recreation.
 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 13 of 15.)
 
Location. 38° 54.108′ N, 76° 56.551′ W. Marker is in Mahaning Heights, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue, Northeast and Minnesota Avenue, Northeast when traveling east on Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue, Northeast. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20019, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Designed to Compete (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); With These Hands (approx. half a mile away); Fort Mahan (approx. 0.6 miles away); A Whirl on the Ferris Wheel (approx. 0.6 miles away); National Training School for Women and Girls/ Nannie Helen Burroughs
Beautification image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
3. Beautification
Residents of Lincoln Heights prepare flower beds as part of the beautification drive, 1966.
Close-up of photo on marker
(approx. ¾ mile away); A Day at the Picture Show (approx. 0.9 miles away); Fort Chaplin (approx. one mile away); Original Federal Boundary Stone NE 9 (approx. 1.1 miles away).
 
Categories. Environment
 
Rededication image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
4. Rededication
Lady Bird Johnson rededicates Watts Branch Park, May 18, 1966
Close-up of photo on marker
The Politics of Trash image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
5. The Politics of Trash
A Washington Post editorial of 1968 placed the tragedy of Kelvin Mock's death in the context of the larger trash disposal issue.
Close-up of photo on marker
Burning Garbage image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
6. Burning Garbage
Smoke billowed from burning garbage at the dump, while men unloaded their cargo of discards in 1967.
Close-up of photo on marker
Former Dump image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
7. Former Dump
A city official surveys the former Kenilworth Dump after its reclamation for parkland, 1970. The PEPCO plant is in the background.
Marvin Gaye Park<br>Lady Bird Johnson Meadow image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
8. Marvin Gaye Park
Lady Bird Johnson Meadow
Marvin Gaye<br>“The Prince of Soul” image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
9. Marvin Gaye
“The Prince of Soul”
2010 Portrait of Marvin Gaye by G. Byron Peck
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 17, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 8, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 72 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on May 8, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   7, 8, 9. submitted on May 11, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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