Monday, April 4, 2011

Learn more about Meridian Hill Park tonight

Henderson Castle on 16th, demolished in 1949. The walls still exist.
U Street Girl has a little post about a cool-sounding event tonight from 7-9 in the community room at the View 14 at 14th and Florida:
Architectural historian Kimberly Prothro Williams, DC Office of Planning, will give a presentation on the history of the Meridian Hill neighborhood.
She will answer questions like:
  • What is that piece of stone castle wall at 16th Street and Florida Avenue?
  • How did Meridian Hill become a park?
This is one of the few times I've heard of the Meridian Hill neighborhood, but in any case, the history of the area is pretty interesting.

There really was a castle on 16th, the Henderson Castle. The Henderson family who built it were interesting folks: John Brooks Henderson was a senator from Missouri and with his wife Mary Foote Henderson, they bought a lot of the land around Meridian Hill, developing it as mansions and embassies. Mary successfully lobbied Congress to get them to make it a park and unsuccessfully lobbied them to move the Presidential home to Meridian Hill Park. There's a bit more on the Wikipedia page and a lot more in this book, Washington, D.C. Off the Beaten Path, 4th: A Guide to Unique Places, on Google. The castle was demolished in 1949 but the walls on 16th Street still exist.

Sure to be an interesting presentation.

1 comment:

Gus said...

It's a shame to have lost this gem as well as the others noted in the book Lost Treasures of DC.

At least we still have the wonderful park space and the amazing fountains. I'm really looking forward to the Department of Parks restoration work.

Maybe we can name this park for President Obama after he completes his 8 years in office :)