The New Deal provided funding and labor for road improvements in Rock Creek Park.
The primary Depression-era addition to the parks road system was the long-contemplated construction of a direct connection between Bingham Drive and Daniel Road (Davis 1996, p. 94). This project was undertaken in 1934-1935 by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers. A newspaper report notes that the CCC work in the park included, “Bingham Drive extended to make new entrance to park” (Daily News 1936)
Contemporary photographic evidence suggests that the new section of Bingham Drive was constructed with a bituminous macadam pavement and that hand labor was used to smooth the road banks in classic park road fashion (Davis 1996, p 94).
The CCC also built the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway overpass and worked on a section of Beach Drive (HABS DC-858). Work relief crews also conducted slope stabilization and rounding work along the margins of Klingle Road where it passed through the park on the west side of Rock Creek valley – these, too, were probably CCC (Davis 1996, p. 94).
Additionally, Works Progress Administration (WPA) crews improved the road entrances to Rock Creek Park and built the Piney Branch Parkway. They also extended Seventeenth Street from Oak Street to Piney Branch Parkway and landscaped around those roads (National Archives).
Timothy Davis, Rock Creek Park Road System, HAER DC-55, 1996. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/master/pnp/habshaer/dc/dc0900/dc0966/data/dc0966data.pdf
“New Deal Projects Aid Many Park Developments in Capital,” Washington Daily News, July 23, 1936.
Civilian Conservation Corps Activities in the National Capital Region of the National Park Service, National Capital Parks-Central, Washington, DC, HABS DC-858.http://lcweb2.loc.gov/master/pnp/habshaer/dc/dc1000/dc1020/data/dc1020data.pdf
“350 jobs added to city’s share of WPA boost,” Washington Post, December 28, 1937, p. 13
National Archives, Record Group 69, “Microfilmed Index to WPA Projects.”
Project originally submitted by Richard Walker on January 20, 2020.
Additional contributions by Brent McKee.
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