Anacostia Park: Improvements – Washington DC


Anacostia Park is one of Washington DC’s two largest parks and recreation areas, along with Rock Creek Park.  It covers over 1200 acres along the Anacostia River from South Capitol Street SE to the Maryland boundary in NE. 

The New Deal improved the park in major ways, after the Capital Parks system was put under the control of the National Park Service (NPS) by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. New Deal public works agencies developed such key features of the park as Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, Langston Golf Course and Anacostia Pool (see linked pages). Besides those major elements, improvements included, “Lawn areas developed… street lights installed; new areas graded and filled; roadways constructed.”   (Washington Daily News 1936)

New Deal work in the park was funded by the Public Works Administration (PWA) and performed in 1933-36 by the Civil Works Administration (CWA), Works Progress Administration  (WPA), and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  There was a CCC camp in the park itself.

In 1936, Work: A Journal of Progress reported that WPA crews conducted over $42,000 worth of grading work.  Other WPA work may have included: “78 acres of vegetable cultivating at Anacostia Park, food to be distributed to needy; Grade, place topsoil, seed, plant grass on greens, construct greens and tees, and perform appurtenant work, at the golf course at Anacostia Park.” (WPA Microfilm)



Source notes

National Archives, Record Group 69, Records of the Work Projects Administration, “Newspaper clippings file, 1935-1942.”

“New Deal Projects Aid Many Park Developments in Capital,” Washington Daily News, July 23, 1936.

National Archives, Record Group 69, WPA Microfilm, District of Columbia, Box 969.

"Environmental Assessment, Anacostia Riverwalk Trail Section 3 Realignment." National Park Service, 2011.

District of Columbia Works Progress Administration, “$5,000,000 Spent in D.C.,” Work: A Journal of Progress, Vol. 1, No. 1, Sept. 1936, p. 32

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee - on May 29, 2013.
Additional contributions by Richard A Walker.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Anacostia Drive
Washington, D.C. 20019

Location notes: Marker in middle of very large park

Coordinates: 38.89925, -76.9632

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