A walking tour of this former amusement park and thriving arts colony, with a focus on the recent rehabilitations of the Spanish Ballroom and 1921 Carousel. Led by Quinn Evans, Loring Engineers, and Friends of Glen Echo.
Directions to the field session, Covid-19 safety protocols, and other relevant information will be provided in your registration confirmation.
Glen Echo Park began in 1891 as a National Chautauqua Assembly "to promote liberal and practical education." By 1911, it transformed into DC's premier amusement park until it closed in 1968. Since 1971, the National Park Service has owned and operated the site and today, with the help of the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, offers year-round cultural and recreational activities. This field session will focus on the historical development of Glen Echo as a popular amusement park, its conversion in the late twentieth century into an arts and cultural center, and the recent phased rehabilitation of its many historic buildings, many of which were adaptively reused from their original recreational uses to serve the park’s arts, events, recreation, and administrative functions.
The field session will highlight recent preservation projects across the site’s mix of revival and Art Deco-style buildings, including the restored 1921 Dentzel Carousel (celebrating its 100th anniversary this year), the Crystal Pool, and the 1933 Spanish Ballroom. Attendees will learn about factors that impact preservation design decisions for historic structures, including period of significance, modifications over time, durability, changes of use, and current code requirements.
Time and conditions allowing, attendees will also have the opportunity to visit the park’s numerous art studios and galleries, where both established and emerging artists display their work for exhibit and sale. If you would like to grab lunch or a snack following the tour, the onsite cafe Praline offers bakery items, sandwiches, soups, quiches, salads, and other delicious fare (open 10 am - 4 pm).
Links for further reading:
- We also encourage registrants to watch the 1992 documentary on Glen Echo, full of vintage videos and photographs of the park during its heyday (including the trolley ride from Downtown Washington), available here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LatpnwBBxEs
Photo credit: National Park Service