I found the 1910 Parks Commission Plan earlier. Now I’ve been able to find a higher resolution version of the plan, albeit a little different. This one is from the original, famous McMillan Commission report. Click the images to see the whole city.
This is the first time a park at Fort Reno was proposed. Here, it’s imagined as a much bigger circular park centered around the now obliterated, high point of DC. The Black-populated town at Fort Reno was still pretty small; the streetcar had only arrived a few years before. Similarly, you can see that the Chevy Chase Land Company had only begun to make forays into the District.
The Nebraska Ave and Yuma street parkways are visible. You can see how large they wanted Soapstone Valley park to be, extending up to 38th Street. They also wanted to acquire the slopes of Broad Branch Valley. That would have linked up with Fort Reno, as part of the first iteration of Fort Drive. Below is a map showing the rights-of-way for the 1897 Permanent Highway Plan and existing roads.
Is there anything else you see?
After the break, a GIF, a GIF, a GIF, I say, a comparative GIF!
Continue reading ➞ The Giant Circle at Fort Reno
In a blog post tangentially related to the Reno Park
department, a geologist from NOVA took a look at
Soapstone Valley, a deep forested gash that divides Forest Hills from Van Ness. I don’t know so much about the science of rocks, but the article is actually really interesting. Soapstone is a very soft stone
, consisting of talc that kind of feels smooth but sticky, like soap. Anyway, it’s an interesting article, and the guy has many other posts about DC geology
that are also interesting. Have a look.
Upper Northwest has a reputation for having bland architecture, with the exception of pre-Depression Chevy Chase. But that’s proving itself to be a not completely true perception. Down at the eastern end of Audubon Terrace in Forest Hills there’s a real treasure of modern architecture, almost completely buried the trees of Soapstone Valley. Although it’s been a house I’ve admired since a stopping a run in the valley back in high school, Modern Capital clued me in to the house’s authorship by the definitive SoCal architect, Richard Neutra.
The residence, known as the Brown House, was built in 1968, only two years before the architect’s death. It is the only example of that architect’s work in DC, and one of only a few on the East Coast. More photos under the fold.
Continue reading ➞ Forest Hills’ Brown House