Theodore Roosevelt Island
Theodore Roosevelt Island is an 88.5-acre island and national memorial located in the Potomac River in Washington, D. C; the island was given to the Federal government by the Theodore Roosevelt Association in memory of the 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt. Until the island had been known as My Lord's Island, Barbadoes Island, Mason's Island, Analostan Island, Anacostine Island; the island is maintained by the National Park Service, as part of the nearby George Washington Memorial Parkway. The land is maintained as a natural park, with various trails and a memorial plaza featuring a statue of Roosevelt. No cars or bicycles are permitted on the island, reached by a footbridge from Arlington, Virginia, on the western bank of the Potomac. "In the 1930s landscape architects transformed Mason’s Island from neglected, overgrown farmland into Theodore Roosevelt Island, a memorial to America’s 26th president. They conceived a ` real forest' designed to mimic the natural forest. Today miles of trails through wooded uplands and swampy bottomlands honor the legacy of a great outdoorsman and conservationist."A small island, "Little Island," lies just off the southern tip.
The Nacotchtank Indians of what is now Anacostia, temporarily moved to the island in 1668, giving its first recorded name, "Anacostine". The island was patented in 1682 as Anacostine Island by Captain Randolph Brandt, who left the island to his daughter Margaret Hammersley, upon his death in 1698 or 1699; the island was acquired by George Mason III in 1724. George Mason IV acquired the island in 1735 upon the death of his father and John Mason, the son of George Mason IV, inherited the Island in 1792 and owned it until 1833. John Mason planted gardens there in the early 19th century; the Masons left the island in 1831. Following Mason's death in 1842, John Carter acquired the land. After Carter died in 1851, the island passed to William A. Bradley. From 1913 to 1931, the island was owned by the Washington Gas Light Company, which allowed vegetation to grow unchecked on the island. By 1935, the Civilian Conservation Corps had cleared much of the island and pulled down the remaining walls of the house.
The island was used as a training camp by the 1st United States Colored Infantry on its formation in 1863. From 1864 to 1865, the camp housed as many as 1,200 Contraband enslaved people under the authority of the US Army, the Freedmen's Bureau.. Locals continued to call it "Mason's Island". Following the declaration of war against Spain in 1898, the island was used as a test site for a number of private experiments in electrical ignition of the explosives dynamite and jovite led by the chemist Charles Edward Munroe of Columbian University. Monroe's experiments, which explored the use of the explosives for mining waterways and roadways and preparing ground for rapid entrenchment, were conducted in secret and without alerting the District of Columbia Police Department, which investigated citizens' reports of Spanish spy activity and found the explosives and detonators buried on the island. In 1931, the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association purchased the island from the gas company with the intention of erecting a memorial honoring Roosevelt.
Congress authorized the memorial on May 21, 1932, but did not appropriate funds for the memorial for three decades. Funds were designated by Congress in 1960; as with all historic areas administered by the National Park Service, the national memorial is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The memorial was dedicated on October 27, 1967. Designed by Eric Gugler, the memorial includes a 17-foot statue by sculptor Paul Manship, four large stone monoliths with some of Roosevelt's more famous quotations, two large fountains; the Potomac River surrounding the island is at sea level, part of the Chesapeake Bay estuary, with the river water fresh but tidal. A narrow channel, unofficially referred to as "Little River" by local users of the Potomac River, separates the island from the Virginia bank of the Potomac, with the main channel of the Potomac between the island and Georgetown, part of Washington, D. C. Surrounding scenery includes the Potomac Gorge and Key Bridge, Georgetown and the Kennedy Center.
The Virginia state line follows the southern bank of the river, so, despite the fact that the primary access to the island is from Virginia, the island itself is in the District of Columbia. The rocky western and central portions of the island are part of the Piedmont Plateau, while the southeastern part is within the Atlantic Coastal Plain. At one point opposite Georgetown, the Atlantic Seaboard fall line between the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain can be seen as a natural phenomenon; the island has about 2.5-mile of shoreline, the highest area of the island is about 44 feet above sea level. Spring floods coming down the Potomac from Appalachia inundate low-lying portions of island's shores usually several times each year, while much larger floods from the storm surges and intense, widespread rainfall from coastal hurricanes and tropical storms, flood the island more several times a century; the island's vegetation is quite diverse for a small area, due to its geological and topographic variety, the frequency of floods, its land-use history (including vari
Korean War Veterans Memorial
The Korean War Veterans Memorial is located in Washington, D. C.'s West Potomac Park, southeast of the Lincoln Memorial and just south of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall. It memorializes those; the Korean War Veterans Memorial was confirmed by the U. S. Congress on April 20, 1986, with design and construction managed by the Korean War Veterans Memorial Advisory Board and the American Battle Monuments Commission; the initial design competition was won in 1986 by a team of four architects from The Pennsylvania State University, but this team withdrew as it became clear that changes would be needed to satisfy the advisory board and reviewing agencies such as the Commission of Fine Arts. A federal court case was lost over the design changes; the eventual design was by Cooper-Lecky Architects who oversaw collaboration between several designers. Former President George H. W. Bush conducted the groundbreaking for the Memorial on June 14, 1993, Flag Day, thus construction was started; the companies and organizations involved in the construction are listed on the memorial as: the Faith Construction Company, the Emma Kollie Company, the Cold Spring Granite Company, the Tallix Art Foundry and the Baltimore District of the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The memorial was dedicated on July 27, 1995, the 42nd anniversary of the armistice that ended the war, by President Bill Clinton and Kim Young Sam, President of the Republic of Korea, to the men and women who served during the conflict. Management of the memorial was turned over to the National Park Service, under its National Mall and Memorial Parks group; as with all National Park Service historic areas, the memorial was administratively listed on the National Register of Historic Places on the day of its dedication. The main memorial is in the form of a triangle intersecting a circle. Walls: 164 feet long, 8 inches thick; the Mural was created by Louis Nelson, with photographic images sandblasted into it depicting soldiers and people involved in the war. When reflected on the wall, there appear to be 38 soldiers, 38 months, it is representing the 38 parallel that separated the North and South Korea. Within the walled triangle are 19 stainless steel statues designed by Frank Gaylord, each larger than life-size, between 7 feet 3 inches and 7 feet 6 inches tall.
The figures represent a platoon on patrol, drawn from branches of the armed forces. S. Army, three are from the Marine Corps, one is a Navy Corpsman, one is an Air Force Forward Air Observer, they are dressed in full combat gear, dispersed among strips of granite and juniper bushes which represent the rugged terrain of Korea. To the north of the statues and path is the United Nations Wall, a low wall listing the 22 members of the United Nations that contributed troops or medical support to the Korean War effort; the circle contains the Pool of Remembrance, a shallow pool 30 feet in diameter lined with black granite and surrounded by a grove of linden trees with benches. The trees are shaped to create a barrel effect. Inscriptions list the numbers killed, missing in action, held as prisoners of war, a nearby plaque is inscribed: "Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met." Additionally, right next to the numbers of American soldiers are those of the United Nations troops in the same categories.
In the south side of the memorial, there are three bushes of the Rose of Sharon hibiscus plant, South Korea's national flower. A further granite wall bears the simple message, inlaid in silver: "Freedom Is Not Free." On October 12, 2015, Samsung Electronics donated $1 million to the Korean War Memorial Foundation. The memorial used the donation for maintenance. According to William Weber, the chairman of the memorial foundation, "Most of the grouting need to be treated twice a year, and there isn't enough for all of that upkeep." In addition, on October 16, Samsung helped clean the memorial ground as part of the company's national day of service. Engraved on granite blocks near the water pool at the east end of the monument are the casualty statistics for the soldiers who fought in the war. Dead — United States: 54,246, United Nations: 628,833 Wounded — United States: 103,284, United Nations: 1,064,453. Captured — United States: 7,140, United Nations: 92,970. Missing — United States: 8,177, United Nations: 470,267.
On February 25, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled on appeal that the memorial-sculptor Frank Gaylord was entitled to compensation for a 37-cent postage stamp—which used an image of the sculpture—because he had not signed away his intellectual-property rights to the sculpture when it was erected. The appeals court rejected arguments. In 2002, amateur-photographer and retired Marine John Alli was paid $1,500 for the use of one of his photographs of the memorial on a snowy day for the stamp, which sold more than $17 million worth of stamps. In 2006, sculptor Frank Gaylord enlisted Fish & Richardson to make a claim that the Postal Service had violated his intellectual-property rights to the sculpture and therefore he should have been compensated; the Postal Service argued that Gaylord was not the sole sculptor and tha
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, administered by the National Park Service, is located at 1411 W Street, SE, in Anacostia, a neighborhood east of the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington, D. C.. Established in 1988 as a National Historic Site, the site preserves the home and estate of Frederick Douglass, one of the most prominent African Americans of the 19th century. Douglass lived in this house, which he named Cedar Hill, from 1877 until his death in 1895. Perched high on a hilltop, the site offers a sweeping view of the U. S. Capitol and the Washington, D. C. skyline. The site of the Frederick Douglass home was purchased by John Van Hook in about 1855. Van Hook built the main portion of the present house soon after taking possession of the property. For a portion of 1877 the house was owned by the Freedom Savings and Trust Company; that year Douglass purchased the home and expanded its 14 rooms to 21, including two-story library and kitchen wings. The house has an "L" shape and its plan is reminiscent of the design of Andrew Jackson Downing.
With the election of President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Douglass hoped for a political appointment postmaster for Rochester, New York or ambassador to Haiti. Instead, he was appointed marshal for the District of a role which he accepted, his appointment to this visible position marked the first time a black man received a federal appointment requiring Senate approval. Douglass, was not asked to fill many of the roles expected of a marshal; the marshal would attend formal White House gatherings and directly introduce guests to the President. Douglass, excused from this role complained that he should have resigned because of the slight. Still, the job brought him financial stability and, in 1878, he purchased the 20-room Victorian home on nine acres which they named Cedar Hill, he bought an additional 15 acres around the property the next year. In the home, Douglass became a cultivated member of high society, he and his grandson Joseph played the music of Franz Schubert in the west parlor which served as music room.
Here he worked on what would be his last autobiographical book and Times of Frederick Douglass, first published in 1881 and reissued 10 years later. His wife Anna had a stroke in 1882 which left her paralyzed. "The main pillar of my house has fallen", he wrote to a friend. In January 1884, Douglass applied for a marriage license at District of Columbia City Hall before heading to the home of Reverend Francis James Grimké and Charlotte Forten Grimké, where he married a white woman named Helen Pitts; the marriage, held January 2, was not approved by most members of either family. Helen's father, an abolitionist, proud to know Douglass never offered his blessing and refused to visit Washington unless he knew his daughter and her husband were out of town. Douglass had hired Pitts as a clerk in 1882, she was a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and had been a teacher of freed blacks in Virginia and Indiana. Interviewed about her marriage, she responded, "Love came to me and I was not afraid to marry the man I loved because of his color."
One newspaper article noted, "black blood in that family. We have no further use for him, his picture hangs in our parlor, we will hang it in the stables." On February 20, 1895, Douglass attended a women's rights rally in Washington and was escorted to the platform by Anna Howard Shaw and Susan B. Anthony, he intended to attend a neighborhood black church. As he was telling his second wife Helen about one of the day's speakers, he collapsed. After Douglass's death, his widow, Helen Pitts Douglass, founded the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association in 1900. In 1916, the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs joined with the association; these groups owned the house until 1962, when the federal government took the deed to the house through the National Park Service, with the intent of restoring and preserving it. On site are an interpretive visitor center and a reconstruction of Douglass's "Growlery", a small stone building in which he secluded himself while writing and studying.
The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site is located about a 10-minute walk from the Anacostia Metro station. In 2017, the site is scheduled to be depicted on the 37th quarter in the America the Beautiful Quarters series. List of museums focused on African Americans Frederick Douglass National Historic Site official web site Frederick Douglass.org "Writings of Frederick Douglass", broadcast from the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, C-SPAN, American Writers, May 28, 2001
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States federal government's official list of districts, buildings and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property; the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966 established the National Register and the process for adding properties to it. Of the more than one million properties on the National Register, 80,000 are listed individually; the remainder are contributing resources within historic districts. For most of its history the National Register has been administered by the National Park Service, an agency within the United States Department of the Interior, its goals are to help property owners and interest groups, such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation, coordinate and protect historic sites in the United States.
While National Register listings are symbolic, their recognition of significance provides some financial incentive to owners of listed properties. Protection of the property is not guaranteed. During the nomination process, the property is evaluated in terms of the four criteria for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places; the application of those criteria has been the subject of criticism by academics of history and preservation, as well as the public and politicians. Historic sites outside the country proper, but associated with the United States are listed. Properties can be nominated in a variety of forms, including individual properties, historic districts, multiple property submissions; the Register categorizes general listings into one of five types of properties: district, structure, building, or object. National Register Historic Districts are defined geographical areas consisting of contributing and non-contributing properties; some properties are added automatically to the National Register when they become administered by the National Park Service.
These include National Historic Landmarks, National Historic Sites, National Historical Parks, National Military Parks, National Memorials, some National Monuments. On October 15, 1966, the Historic Preservation Act created the National Register of Historic Places and the corresponding State Historic Preservation Offices; the National Register consisted of the National Historic Landmarks designated before the Register's creation, as well as any other historic sites in the National Park system. Approval of the act, amended in 1980 and 1992, represented the first time the United States had a broad-based historic preservation policy; the 1966 act required those agencies to work in conjunction with the SHPO and an independent federal agency, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, to confront adverse effects of federal activities on historic preservation. To administer the newly created National Register of Historic Places, the National Park Service of the U. S. Department of the Interior, with director George B.
Hartzog Jr. established an administrative division named the Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation. Hartzog charged OAHP with creating the National Register program mandated by the 1966 law. Ernest Connally was the Office's first director. Within OAHP new divisions were created to deal with the National Register; the division administered several existing programs, including the Historic Sites Survey and the Historic American Buildings Survey, as well as the new National Register and Historic Preservation Fund. The first official Keeper of the Register was an architectural historian. During the Register's earliest years in the late 1960s and early 1970s, organization was lax and SHPOs were small and underfunded. However, funds were still being supplied for the Historic Preservation Fund to provide matching grants-in-aid to listed property owners, first for house museums and institutional buildings, but for commercial structures as well. A few years in 1979, the NPS history programs affiliated with both the U.
S. National Parks system and the National Register were categorized formally into two "Assistant Directorates." Established were the Assistant Directorate for Archeology and Historic Preservation and the Assistant Directorate for Park Historic Preservation. From 1978 until 1981, the main agency for the National Register was the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service of the United States Department of the Interior. In February 1983, the two assistant directorates were merged to promote efficiency and recognize the interdependency of their programs. Jerry L. Rogers was selected to direct this newly merged associate directorate, he was described as a skilled administrator, sensitive to the need for the NPS to work with SHPOs, local governments. Although not described in detail in the 1966 act, SHPOs became integral to the process of listing properties on the National Register; the 1980 amendments of the 1966 law further defined the responsibilities of SHPOs concerning the National Register.
Several 1992 amendments of the NHPA added a category to the National Register, known as Traditional Cultural Properties: those properties associated with Native American or Hawaiian groups
George Washington Memorial Parkway
The George Washington Memorial Parkway, colloquially the G. W. Parkway, is a 25-mile-long parkway that runs along the south bank of the Potomac River from Mount Vernon, northwest to McLean, is maintained by the National Park Service, it is located entirely within Virginia, except for a short portion of the parkway northwest of the Arlington Memorial Bridge that passes over Columbia Island within the District of Columbia. The parkway is separated into two sections joined by Washington Street in Alexandria. A third section, the Clara Barton Parkway, runs on the opposite side of the Potomac River in the District of Columbia and suburban Montgomery County, Maryland. A fourth section was proposed for Fort Washington, but never built; the parkway has been designated an All-American Road. Virginia's official state designation for the parkway is State Route 90005. At Mount Vernon, the parkway begins at a traffic circle, where it joins/leaves SR 235. Most of this route was taken from the Washington and Mount Vernon Railway's right-of-way.
The southern section with at-grade intersections. It extends from Mount Vernon, past Fort Hunt to South Washington Street at the southern end of Alexandria; the Mount Vernon Trail parallels the southern and middle sections of the parkway, is filled with recreational and commuter cyclists and runners. Points of interest on or near the parkway are Mount Vernon Plantation, Huntley Meadows Park, P. O. Box 1142, Fort Hunt Park, Dyke Marsh, Hunting Creek, Jones Point, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Although designated as part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, Washington Street in Alexandria still belongs to and is maintained by the City of Alexandria. In 1929, the city and the federal government entered into a memorandum of agreement; the MOA gave the federal government a irrevocable easement over Washington Street. It called for the construction of roundabouts at both the north and south ends of Washington Street as transition points between the rural and urban sections of the parkway; the MOA required Alexandria to adopt zoning regulations so that construction along Washington Street would be "of such character and of such types of buildings as will be in keeping with the dignity and memorial character of said highway".
Commercial vehicles, such as trucks, are prohibited from the George Washington Memorial Parkway. However and airport shuttles are allowed to operate on the parkway; the northern section extends from North Washington Street at First Street, at the northern end of Old Town Alexandria, to its terminus at Interstate 495, in Fairfax County, just south of the Potomac River. It follows the Potomac River, passing through Arlington County, serves as the primary access point to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport; the Parkway provides automobile access to Theodore Roosevelt Island, the LBJ National Grove, Gravelly Point Park, Fort Marcy, Columbia Island Marina and Turkey Run Park. There are scenic view rest areas for those wishing to view the Georgetown skyline and the Potomac Palisades; the cloverleaf interchange with the 14th Street Bridge, dating to 1932, is one of the oldest cloverleaf interchanges in the United States. The Spout Run Parkway connects the George Washington Memorial Parkway to US Route 29, providing an indirect connection to I-66.
The portion of the parkway north of National Airport and SR 233 is part of the National Highway System. The trip by DC area residents to see George Washington's family estate at Mount Vernon was seen in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a patriotic duty as well as an opportunity to learn about American history and democratic values. In the late 19th century, most people took a steamboat excursion from DC. By the 1920s, 200,000 people a year were visiting Mount Vernon. In the 1880s, officials in Alexandria, attempted to boost local commerce by advocating for a "national road" to Mt. Vernon, they formed the Mount Vernon Avenue Association in September 1887. Congress appropriated $10,000 for a survey in 1889; the United States Army Corps of Engineers conducted the survey, in its report agreed that a superior, no-expense-spared road from Alexandria to Mount Vernon was necessary. However, construction of the Washington and Mount Vernon Railway between 1892 and 1896 dealt a serious blow to the plan.
During the Alexandria Sesquicentennial in 1899, several Alexandria civic boosters called for a bridge to be built between Alexandria and Washington, DC. This reignited interest in a roadway to Mount Vernon; the idea generated interest among many of the individuals active in the City Beautiful movement, Colonial Revival architecture movement, groups dedicated to promoting local and national history. Soon, the idea of a roadway became a call for a grandiose, monumental avenue lined with Beaux-Arts memorials and roadside attractions; the idea received more impetus when the Daughters of the American Revolution took up the cause. In 1902, the McMillan Plan endorsed a road along the Virginia side of the Potomac River shoreline. Although Virginia was outside the plan's scope, the Senate Park Commission saw a Mount Vernon avenue as an extension of the DC park system as well as a means of protecting the Great Falls of the Potomac River and the Potomac Palisades; the McMillan Plan, focused not on a monumental avenue but on tree-lined boulevards and quiet carriage paths designed to relax and calm.
The Mount Vernon Avenue Association disbanded
National Park Service
The National Park Service is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all national parks, many national monuments, other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. It was created on August 25, 1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior; the NPS is charged with a dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management, while making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment. As of 2018, the NPS employs 27,000 employees who oversee 419 units, of which 61 are designated national parks. National parks and national monuments in the United States were individually managed under the auspices of the Department of the Interior; the movement for an independent agency to oversee these federal lands was spearheaded by business magnate and conservationist Stephen Mather, as well as J. Horace McFarland. With the help of journalist Robert Sterling Yard, Mather ran a publicity campaign for the Department of the Interior.
They wrote numerous articles that praised the scenic and historic qualities of the parks and their possibilities for educational and recreational benefits. This campaign resulted in the creation of a National Park Service. On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill that mandated the agency "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." Mather became the first director of the newly formed NPS. On March 3, 1933, President Herbert Hoover signed the Reorganization Act of 1933; the act would allow the President to reorganize the executive branch of the United States government. It wasn't until that summer when the new President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, made use of this power. Deputy Director Horace M. Albright had suggested to President Roosevelt that the historic sites from the American Civil War should be managed by the National Park Service, rather than the War Department.
President Roosevelt issued two Executive orders to make it happen. These two executive orders not only transferred to the National Park Service all the War Department historic sites, but the national monuments managed by the Department of Agriculture and the parks in and around the capital, run by an independent office. In 1951, Conrad Wirth became director of the National Park Service and went to work on bringing park facilities up to the standards that the public expected; the demand for parks after the end of the World War II had left the parks overburdened with demands that could not be met. In 1952, with the support of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, he began Mission 66, a ten-year effort to upgrade and expand park facilities for the 50th anniversary of the Park Service. New parks were added to preserve unique resources and existing park facilities were upgraded and expanded. In 1966, as the Park Service turned 50 years old, emphasis began to turn from just saving great and wonderful scenery and unique natural features to making parks accessible to the public.
Director George Hartzog began the process with the creation of the National Lakeshores and National Recreation Areas. Since its inception in 1916, the National Park Service has managed each of the United States' national parks, which have grown in number over the years to 60. Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the United States. In 1872, there was no state government to manage it, so the federal government assumed direct control. Yosemite National Park began as a state park. Yosemite was returned to federal ownership. At first, each national park was managed independently, with varying degrees of success. In Yellowstone, the civilian staff was replaced by the U. S. Army in 1886. Due to the irregularities in managing these national treasures, Stephen Mather petitioned the federal government to improve the situation. In response, Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane challenged him to lobby for creating a new agency, the National Park Service, to manage all national parks and some national monuments.
Mather was successful with the ratification of the National Park Service Organic Act in 1916. The agency was given authority over other protected areas, many with varying designations as Congress created them; the National Park System includes. The title or designation of a unit need not include the term park; the System as a whole is considered to be a national treasure of the United States, some of the more famous national parks and monuments are sometimes referred to metaphorically as "crown jewels". The system encompasses 84.4 million acres, of which more than 4.3 million acres remain in private ownership. The largest unit is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. At 13,200,000 acres, it is over 16 percent of the entire system; the smallest unit in the system is Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, Pennsylvania, at 0.02 acre. In addition to administering its units and other properties, the National Park Service provides technical and financial assistance to several "affiliated areas" authorized by Congress.
The largest affiliated area is New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve at 1,164,025 acres. The smallest is Benjamin Franklin National Memorial at less than 0.01 acres. Although all units of the Nat
Constitution Gardens is a park area in Washington, D. C. United States, located within the boundaries of the National Mall; the 50-acre park is bounded on the west by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, on the east by 17th St NW, on the north by Constitution Avenue, on the south by the Reflecting Pool. Constitution Gardens has a small pond; the land that became Constitution Gardens was submerged beneath the Potomac River and was dredged at the beginning of the 20th century by the Army Corps of Engineers. The U. S. Navy built the Main Navy and Munitions Buildings as temporary offices on the land during World War I; the buildings were demolished in 1970 due in part to lobbying by President Richard Nixon, who had served in the offices as a navy officer. President Nixon subsequently ordered that a park be established on the land, in 1976, Constitution Gardens was dedicated as a "living legacy American Revolution Bicentennial tribute." It has been a separate park unit in the National Park Service since 1982, administered under the National Capitol Parks-Central.
In July 1982, the Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence was dedicated on the small island in the lake. On November 13 of the same year, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall was dedicated within Constitution Gardens. On September 17, 1986, President Ronald Reagan formally proclaimed the park a "living legacy tribute" to the United States Constitution, in honor of the bicentennial of the U. S. Constitution one year later. From March 17 to March 19, 2003, Constitution Gardens was the site of a bizarre standoff between federal police and a disgruntled tobacco farmer, Dwight Watson. Watson had driven his tractor into the center of the lake and claimed he had explosives, prompting the evacuation of the area and holding the FBI and U. S. Park Police at bay for 48 hours before he surrendered. During the standoff, Watson dug up part of the island and damaged a retaining wall but did not harm any of the monuments; as home to famous monuments, Constitution Gardens continues to have millions of visitors every year.
It is the site of an annual naturalization ceremony for new U. S. citizens hosted by the National Park Service. 1976 – In a series of plans and designs, architecture firm Skidmore and Merrill and Modern landscape architect Dan Kiley completed Constitution Gardens as a picturesque restful park with a small lake, which would contrast with the "formalism of the Grand Axis." Meandering paths would traverse meadows shaded by tree canopy. Construction budgets were reduced from $14M to $6.7M. In 1984, the Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence was completed and placed on an island in Constitution Gardens Lake, it was designed with Joe Brown, FASLA, as the principal landscape architect. The low-key design features a granite semi-circle with gold signatures of the Founding Fathers, organized by the original thirteen states. A 2011–12 national design competition was sponsored by the Trust for the National Mall to select a design team for the redesign of three sites: Constitution Gardens, the Sylvan Theater, Union Square.
After an intense and publicized competition, the Trust for the National Mall has announced the three winning teams selected to redesign the neglected sites of "America's front yard". As reported by the Washington Post, Rogers Marvel Architects and PWP Landscape Architecture will redesign Constitution Gardens east of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Peter Walker and Partners will transform the lake into a critical piece of water infrastructure that reduces the damaging impacts of stormwater while creating a source of water for reuse in irrigation and toilets. "History & Culture". Constitution Gardens. Washington, D. C.: National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2017-06-06. Retrieved 2017-06-19. "Constitution Gardens", National Park Service "Trust for the National Mall: Constitution Gardens"