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Shaw in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Meridian Hill Park

City Within a City

 

—Greater U Street Heritage Trail —

 
Meridian Hill Park Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, August 4, 2008
1. Meridian Hill Park Marker
Inscription. Just ahead of you at the corner of 15th Street and Florida Avenue is the entrance to Meridian Hill Park, a dramatic urban oasis established in 1912 and completed in 1936. Its stunning, 12-acre landscape features the longest cascading waterfall of its kind in North America, a grand promenade and some of the city’s most interesting sculpture. Nationally known artists performed here from the 1930s into the 1970s, making it America’s first park for the performing arts. Pearl Bailey and Pearl Mesta drew 20,000 people for “an evening with the Pearls” in 1968.

The park was the inspiration of Mary Foote Henderson, the wife of Senator John B. Henderson who lived in a romanesque, castle-like mansion that once stood at the northwest corner of 16th and Florida Avenue. Howard W. Peasly, the park’s designer was inspired by the eighteenth-century gardens of Italy and France. The walls and walkways of the park represent the first use of exposed aggregate concrete anywhere in the world, here raised to the level of fine art by John Joseph Early. The multicolored stones are all from the Potomac River and are designed to shimmer in the light like an impressionist painting.

Located between a predominantly White community on the west and a predominantly Black community on the east, the park was a public place shared by both
Meridian Hill Park Marker - photo on reverse image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, March 7, 2009
2. Meridian Hill Park Marker - photo on reverse
"The castle-like mansion [upper left] of the wealthy and influential Mary Foote Henderson once overlooked the dramatic waterfall of Meridian Hill Park, created on land she donated to the city." Washingtoniana Division, DC Public Library.
races in segregated Washington. Today the park, known to many as Malcolm X Park, sits amidst the city’s most multicultural community and is again a gathering place and a setting for concerts and public programs.
 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 13 of 14.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the National Historic Landmarks marker series.
 
Location. 38° 55.123′ N, 77° 2.088′ W. Marker is in Shaw, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on New Hampshire Avenue south of W Street/Florida Avenue, NW, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20009, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Saint Augustine Roman Catholic Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Buchanan (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); James Buchanan (about 500 feet away); A Gathering Place for Washingtonians (about 500 feet away); Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments (about 500 feet away); Mrs. Henderson's Legacy (about 500 feet away); Mary Ann Shadd Cary House (about 600 feet away); A Shared Neighborhood (about 600 feet away).
 
More about this marker. Marker is in the northwest
Meridian Hill Park Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, September 14, 2016
3. Meridian Hill Park Marker
This view of the marker is looking towards the east across New Hampshire Avenue NW and 15th Street NW, with Saint Augustine Catholic Church in the distance.
corner of the "Shaw" neighborhood, a short block south of Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park, and just southwest of the New Hampshire Avenue, 15th Street, W Street-Florida Avenue intersection.

[Picture captions, upper set:]
A capacity crowd fills the promenade for a Summer in the Parks concert in 1968. Reverend Walter Fauntroy, below, addresses a rally in the park that same year.

[Picture captions, lower set:]
The park’s grand waterfall, left, was designed in the 1930s. An equestrian statue of Joan of Arc, seen below in 1936, shortly after the park’s completion, overlooks the cascade.

[Picture caption, bottom:]
"Plan of Meridian Hill Park, Washington, D.C." - Designed in the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds …
 
Regarding Meridian Hill Park. Meridian Hill Park was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1994, as "an outstanding accomplishment of early 20th-century Neoclassicist park design in the United States"
 
Also see . . .
1. Meridian Hill Park. (Submitted on March 9, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
2. National Park Service: Meridian Hill Park. (Submitted on March 9, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
3. Greater U Street Heritage Trail markers that have been entered in the Historical Marker database
<i>Jeanne d'Arc - Liberatrice</i>: 1412-1431. <i>Aux femmes d'Amerique, les femmes de France.</i> image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, August 4, 2008
4. Jeanne d'Arc - Liberatrice: 1412-1431. Aux femmes d'Amerique, les femmes de France.
statue of St. Joan of Arc, Meridian Hill Park.
. (Submitted on March 25, 2009.)
 
Additional keywords. City planning
 
Categories. 20th CenturyAfrican AmericansArts, Letters, MusicEntertainmentMan-Made FeaturesNotable PersonsNotable Places
 
Dante image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, August 4, 2008
5. Dante
statue of Dante Alighieri, Meridian Hill Park.
The Meridian Hill Park Waterfall image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, August 4, 2008
6. The Meridian Hill Park Waterfall
Thirteen tier cascade fountain, "the longest cascading waterfall of its kind in North America."
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 14, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 8, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 3,164 times since then and 161 times this year. Last updated on November 6, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 8, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   3. submitted on September 14, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.   4, 5, 6. submitted on March 8, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
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