Image above: Mining camp at Bennet Lake, May 1898. Photo courtesy Woodside, H.J., 1858-1929. Library and Archives Canada. Right: Engraving of the immigrant scene at Ellis Island, New York harbor. Courtesy Library of Congress.
Sponsor this page for $100 per year. Your banner or text ad can fill the space above.
Click here to Sponsor the page and how to reserve your ad.
Detail - 1890
September 27, 1890 - Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. is created when President Benjamin Harrison signs legislation creating natural preservation in the wooded valley within urban District of Columbia.
There was no such thing as the Antiquities Act, which didn't come to pass until 1907 allowing a President to establish a National Monument by his own hand. So when President Benjamin Harrison, and others, decided it was important to safeguard the woods and valleys still left within Washington, D.C., he had to use other tools. There were only two national parks in existence by this time, i.e. Yellowstone the first in 1872, and Mackinac National Park in 1875, with two more coming in California by the end of the 1890 year, Sequoia, in September, and Yosemite, in October. No, Mackinac is no longer a national park (transferred to the state of Michigan to be a state park in 1895), but still a cool place to visit.
Civic leaders had been thinking about establishing places of repose within the growing capital. The National Zoo had been established in 1889, so it seemed natural for the effort to protect the woodlands in the northern park of the District of Columbia. Charles C. Glover, was a banker (Riggs Bank), philanthropist, and advocate for city parks. He would help create over three thousand acres of parks in Washington, D.C., including the nearly two thousand acres of Rock Creek Park when Congress finally established the park in 1890, an effort begun two decades earlier in 1866.
The Act of Congress on September 27, 1890, appropriated one million two hundred thousand dollars for the purchase and associated costs, with one half of the cost to be repaid to the United States Treasury by the District of Columbia. Annual maintenance and other costs were to be shared fifty/fifty by the District of Columbia and the United States Government.
Once purchased, it only took five days before the Rock Creek Park Commission had their first meeting. They would settle on one thousand six hundred and six acres at a cost of one million one hundred and seventy-four thousand five hundred and eleven dollars. Construction of facilities and paths was begun in 1897, with substantial completion by 1912. Two bridges were constructed across Rock Creek in 1901, the Boulder Bridge (still standing) and the Pebble Dash Bridge (since replaced). Twenty-one miles of bridal paths and four miles of footpaths were constructed by 1912.
Rock Creek Park was transferred to the National Park Service in 1933.