Anacostia Park’s history is steeped in the relationship between the land and the people that shape it. From the Native peoples, such as the Nacotchtanks who lived for more than 10,000 years along the Anacostia River and adjacent to the land that would eventually become Anacostia Park, to the land’s importance to the planning of the national capital city, Anacostia Park contains many layers of history. The land on either side of the Anacostia River was the ideal location for industry as early as the 1790s, though it would not be until the early 20th century that the land would be reclaimed and turned into the riverside parks Washingtonians know today.
Anacostia Park is a communal and recreational space that has been witness to many different eras of history. Also along the Anacostia River and near the park is the Washington Navy Yard, which would play a key role in the War of 1812 when the yards were ordered to be burned down to prevent the British capturing ships and important supplies. Established in the mid-1910s, and now an expansive landscape with many recreational opportunities for Washingtonians, Anacostia Park contains Civil War era fortifications. For example, Fort Greble, which once stood within the park’s boundaries, was constructed to guard the gateway to Washington.
The park is over 1,200 acres and approximately 5 miles long, as it stretches the length of the Anacostia River from the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge to the District/Maryland state line. Key places found within the park, which is managed by the National Park Service, include Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Langston Golf Course, and the Anacostia Park Pavilion, which provides space for roller skating and special events.
DC Inventory: November 8, 1964 (Joint Committee on Landmarks) [omitted on March 7, 1968]
Eligible for National Register of Historic Places