CAPITOL HILL PARKS

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park

PARK OVERVIEW

Capitol Hill Parks, a subset of National Capital Parks East, is a collection of inner city parks in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D. C., that are managed by the National Park Service. The main parks are Folger Park, Stanton Park, Marion Park, Lincoln Park, and the Eastern Market, but there are dozens of other small parks and squares that are part of the park unit. Most parks offer no amenities and are simply green spaces for local residents to sit outdoors, play with children, or listen to free concerts and First Amendment speeches and protests. They offer nothing of interest for tourists visiting Washington.


OPERATING HOURS

All parks are open from 5 AM to midnight year-round.


FEES

There is no fee to enter any of the parks.


PARK REVIEWS

I managed to make it by three of the parks and will provide a small review of each.

FOLGER PARK

Folger Park is named for Secretary of the Treasury Charles J. Folger (1818-1884). It takes up a city block: between 2nd and 3rd Streets SE on the east and west sides, and D Street SE on the north and south ends. Paved walkways crisscross the park, and there are plenty of benches where you can sit and enjoy a moment outdoors. It serves strictly as a green space for local residents.

Folger Park

Folger Park

LINCOLN PARK

Though the park has been around since Washington, D. C., was designed by Pierre L’Enfant in 1791, it wasn’t named Lincoln Park until 1867. In fact, it was the first site in America to be named after President Lincoln. The park is most noted for the Emancipation Memorial statue of Lincoln with a slave at his feet thankful for being freed. White people never found any harm in it, but Frederick Douglass and other black leaders thought it was insulting, as it looks more like a former slave groveling at Lincoln’s feet, as if Lincoln—and white people—were wholly responsible for the abolishment of slavery. While the statue was commissioned and paid for by former slaves, it was designed by white people. An alternate proposal was for a statue of Lincoln and a black Union soldier, but that was deemed too expensive. Regardless, Douglass did give the keynote speech at the dedication ceremony in 1876 and made his displeasure known.

Emancipation Memorial

Emancipation Memorial

There is also a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). This statue was dedicated in 1974. The first official office for the NCNW is part of the National Park system, the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site. It is interesting to note that the Emancipation Memorial originally faced towards the Capitol building, but was turned around to face the Bethune statue.

Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial

Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial

Lincoln Park is fairly large, situated between 11th Street SE on the west, East Capitol Street NE on the north, 13th Street SE on the east, and East Capitol Street SE on the south. The park has two playgrounds for children, and benches line a network of paved walkways through the park. There are also plenty of dirt paths that have been worn into the ground over the years by those not using the paved paths. This junks up the place somewhat, but the park is for people’s pleasure, not to look like the Yard of the Month. Summer concerts are often held here as well.

Playground at Lincoln Park

Playground at Lincoln Park

STANTON PARK

Like Lincoln Park, Stanton Park has been around since Pierre L’Enfant designed Washington, D. C, in 1791, but its current name comes from Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War under President Lincoln. Oddly enough, the one statue in the park is of General Nathanael Greene, a hero of the American Revolution.

Nathanael Greene Memorial at Stanton Park

Nathanael Greene Memorial at Stanton Park

The park is situated between C Street NE on the north and south, 4th Street NE on the west, and 6th Street NE on the east. Like other city parks, it has plenty of benches for patrons to sit and enjoy time outdoors. It also has a children’s playground area.

Playground at Stanton Park

Playground at Stanton Park

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Last updated on April 27, 2020
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