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

Creating the “City Beautiful”

 

—Meridian Hill Park, National Historic Landmark —

 
Creating the "City Beautiful" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 2, 2013
1. Creating the "City Beautiful" Marker
Inscription. At the beginning of its second century, the nation's capital was changing dramatically. In 1902, the United States Senate adopted a number of recommendations from the Senate Park Commission, popularly known as the McMillan Commission. By 1910, a federally appointed group of architects and designers, the Commission of Fine Arts, was directing the rehabilitation of the National Mall. Under their supervision, construction began on several new buildings near the Capitol, including monuments to Lincoln and Jefferson, and on a series of new parks.

Two principles guided both commissions. The first was Pierre L'Enfant's 1792 plan of the city, which had never been fully realized and had nearly been lost during the 19th century. The second was creation and maintenance of grand public spaces, as endorsed by the proponents of the City Beautiful movement of the 1890s, and exemplified by the Beaux Arts designs of the French and Italian Renaissance revivals. Serving as a "monumental entrance to Washington," Meridian Hill Park demonstrates both principles.

According to Meridian Hill Park's National Historic Landmark nomination (1994), "the creation of a Renaissance villa landscape in the midst of an American city to serve as a public park has no true parallel."

For more information go to: www.nps.gov/mehi
 
Location.
Creating the "City Beautiful" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 2, 2013
2. Creating the "City Beautiful" Marker
38° 55.332′ N, 77° 2.128′ W. Marker is in Columbia Heights, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker can be reached from 15th St. NW. Touch for map. This marker is on of four on the eastern side of Meridian Hill Park along the park paths paralleling 15th Street just south of the comfort stations. They are across the street from 2407 15th St NW Washington, DC 20009. 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. Visionary and Park Champion (here, next to this marker); Design Challenges (here, next to this marker); Park Designers (here, next to this marker); Mansions, Parks, and People (within shouting distance of this marker); An American Meridian (within shouting distance of this marker); College Hill (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Campus to Army Camps and Back Again (about 300 feet away); Art for the People (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Columbia Heights.
 
Categories. Man-Made Features
 
Creating the "City Beautiful" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 2, 2013
3. Creating the "City Beautiful" Marker
This marker is the second from the left.
The Cascades image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 2, 2013
4. The Cascades
The rendering of Neo-classical and French Renaissance forms in 20th century architectural concrete make the park uniquely American. In the Cascades recirculating water flows down through thirteen basins and into the reflecting pool of the Lower Plaza.
Before the Park image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 2, 2013
5. Before the Park
The site as it appeared in 1914 when design of the park began.
The Cascades image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 15, 2008
6. The Cascades
In Summer
The Cascades image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 2, 2013
7. The Cascades
In Winter
The Armillary Sphere image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 2, 2013
8. The Armillary Sphere
The armillary sphere that appears in photo #4 disappeared in 1978. This ring of thorn bushes surrounds the original site of the armillary Sphere.
The pedestal image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 2, 2013
9. The pedestal
The pedestal of the armillary sphere.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 28, 2017. This page originally submitted on March 27, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 402 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on March 27, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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