Fort Bunker Hill Park (abandoned) – Washington DC

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Description

Fort Bunker Hill was a part of the Civil War ring of forts defending the capital. The site was transformed into a park in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as a park for a recently built suburban neighborhood. Sadly, it has been abandonned by the city park authorities and left in an overgrown and dilapidated condition.

A HABS report details the CCC development of the park:

“By the end of 1935, CCC work had begun at the site with Camp NP-11-DC planting trees and constructing walks.  Work at the site continued into at least early 1937.  This Camp and enrollees from NP-8-VA (Arlington) and NP-14-DC (Rock Creek) ultimately developed a picnic ground and an amphitheater situated within planned and planted woodlands.  A large, flat open area in the park’s southwest corner, its highest point, probably contained the picnic facilities, including twelve table-and-bench combinations.  Planners located the amphitheater in a depression on the block’s east side.  They designed it with a stage defined by a stone wall 65′-0″ long and 3′-0″ high, and an audience area extending up the hill towards the southwest with fixed log seats for 250, and an additional overflow area in which 150 could be seated on the ground or in movable chairs.  Scattered throughout the site along the paths and staircases were four drinking fountains of the rustic log-type with bubblers and faucet.”

The HABS report continues on the current abandonned state of the park:

“The 2004 field survey found a mostly intact, but unused site, which exists as an intriguing urban ruin.  Pathways still cross the site, but the absence of even litter suggests that it is only being used by dog walkers, such as those observed during the field survey.  The two major areas of the park—the picnic grounds and the amphitheater—are still easily located.  Although overgrown, the stage is fully intact and its retaining walls appear to be in good order. Two tall standards on either side of the stage once provided stage lighting and spots for performances, but are rusted and no longer operable.  It is not known whether the lights were part of the CCC work completed at the site; the documentary evidence makes no reference to them.  While not in a usable state, the log seating extending up the hill to the southwest is also discernible.  None of the four rustic drinking fountains survive.”

 

Source notes

Civilian Conservation Corps Activities in the National Capital Region of the National Park Service, National Capital Parks-Central, Washington, DC, HABS DC-858, accessed February 2013.
http://www.nps.gov/cwdw/learn/historyculture/fort-bunker-hill.htm

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee - wpatoday.org on May 24, 2013.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.

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Location Info


Fort Bunker Hill Park
Washington, D.C. 20017

Coordinates: 38.9351, -76.9877

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