The National Zoological Park was established by an Act of Congress in 1889. By 1900, the Zoo's size had increased significantly due to three successive additions, which were followed by additional land acquisitions in 1921 and 1923, as well as a slight decrease in size with the construction of Beach Drive in 1966.
The present site of the National Zoo was chosen due to its picturesque character, its rugged terrain with numerous hills, and its location in Rock Creek Valley. While many structures that impinge upon the landscape were constructed throughout the 20th century, the area still retains its rugged, green magnificence, and the alternating views from the valleys and hills provide great visual excitement. The exhibition area is located in the northern half of the park, and the southern portion is lightly built upon.
The site includes about 15 historic buildings, constructed between 1892 and 1940.
DC Inventory: November 8, 1964
National Register: April 11, 1973