“Meridian Hill Park, also known as Malcolm X Park, lower plaza level has reopened. The NPS is making plans to repair the cascading fountain”

Completed lower plaza of Meridian Hill Park. NPS Photo

Ed. Note: This is the first time I’ve seen an official release from the National Park Service that says “Meridian Hill Park, also known as Malcolm X Park”

From a press release:

“Meridian Hill Park, also known as Malcolm X Park, has reopened after the National Park Service (NPS) constructed an accessible route through the lower plaza level and restored its distinctive historic landscape and architectural features.

The new accessible route, which provides easier entry to people who use wheelchairs, provides access from the corner of 16th St. NW and Florida Ave. NW/W St. NW to the lower plaza of the park and continues to the east with access to the plaza in front of the President James Buchanan Memorial.

The NPS planted 26 trees, 488 shrubs and 60 groundcover plants to reflect the park’s historic landscape design. Ten large Columbia plane trees, which are resilient to fungal disease, were planted to provide shade. Visitors can see a distant view of the Washington Monument through a new pleached allée – a frame that allows trees to be trained and trimmed to form an archway. This archway was part of the original landscape design.

To aid the growth of the newly planted trees in the lower plaza, a suspended pavement system was installed to support the weight of pavement and create a subsurface space for tree root growth. The NPS also updated storm drains and inlets throughout the lower level of the park.

Meridian Hill Park was once home to a mansion, a Civil War encampment and was later developed in a French neoclassical (upper level) and Italian Renaissance villa landscape (lower level) design. The park served as a laboratory to experiment with exposed aggregate concrete (concrete made of exposed small pebbles), a revolutionary medium of construction in the early 1900s. Construction of the park began in 1914.

As part of this project, the NPS also replaced and repaired damaged historic concrete walls, walkways and stairs to improve safety and preserve historic architectural elements of the park. Additional accessibility improvements were made in other areas of Meridian Hill Park in earlier phases of this project. The NPS is making plans to repair the cascading fountain.”

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