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North and Northeast

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Large tracts of land concentrated along the north Capitol Street corridor were set aside in the nineteenth century as spacious grounds for three distinct types of institutions—cemeteries, educational institutions, and retirement facilities. They were joined in the twentieth century by the National Arboretum ( NE01), at 24th and R streets NE, whose 412 acres contiguous to the Anacostia River offered both wetlands and uplands for a wide range of specimen plantings. Although established in 1927, its permanent road system was not begun until twenty years later and completed in 1958. The administration-laboratory building, dating from 1964 and located near the R Street entrance, was designed by Deigert and Yerkes as three interconnected low pavilions composed asymmetrically along a central spine. Landscape architect Hideo Sasaki's master plan dating from 1968 brought coherence to the arboretum's series of disparate gardens. Two features of architectural interest are the remains of Native American habitation on the site and twentytwo of the original Aquia sandstone Corinthian columns from the east front of the Capitol. They were erected atop a hill according to a landscape plan, including a fountain, designed by Russell Page that was completed in 1990.

Two of the three large cemeteries in the area were designed as part of the rural cemetery movement to function as public parks and thus were consciously laid out with winding roadways that conform to the natural and sometimes improved landscape. It was in 1712 that religious services were first held on the site of Rock Creek Cemetery, located at Rock Creek Church Road and Webster Street NW, with the first interment in 1719. Its 86 acres have an irregular internal road system that is less contrived than those of Glenwood and Mount Olivet cemeteries, both founded in the 1850s in response to a city ordinance forbidding new cemeteries within the city limits. Glenwood Cemetery, located at 2219 Lincoln Road NE, was chartered by Congress on 27 July 1854. Mount Olivet Cemetery, at 1300 Bladensburg Road NE, was founded as a Roman Catholic cemetery in 1858; graves from three churches in the city were moved there, including that of James Hoban, architect of the White House.

Four universities in the area were founded in the nineteenth century: Gallaudet in 1856 (see NE04), Howard University in 1867 (see NE12), Catholic University in 1887 (see NE08), and Trinity College in 1897 (see NE07). Their campuses are now nearly filled with buildings, as are the grounds of the Old Soldiers' Home (see NE11), set aside by Congress in 1851 for retired army men, and Walter Reed Hospital, laid out in 1905 as a general hospital for the army. Remnants of seven Civil War forts remain in the area east of Rock Creek Park, but Fort Totten and Fort Slocum are the only ones whose contiguous grounds function as public parks. The city's only significant industrial corridor parallels the railroad tracks that run along the north side of New York Avenue, creating an indelible gash that in conjunction with the Anacostia River divides the northeastern sector of the city into three distinct areas.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee

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