Monday, September 6, 2010

Mitchell Park, Hidden Gem in Sheridan-Kalorama

I love the hustle and bustle of Adams Morgan, Dupont and all the life along the 42 bus route.  But I also appreciate the area west of Connecticut Avenue and north of Dupont; the quiet and reserved neighborhood of Sheridan-Kalorama.  It's home to princely private mansions, immaculate embassies and even the home of a former President.

And add to that list a beautiful hidden gem: Mitchell Park.  At 1801 23rd Street NW, the park is nearly equidistant to Massachusetts and Connecticut Avenues.  Mitchell Park recently underwent a $1.2 million renovation and it shows.  

Elevated a few feet above street level, you really have to walk up to appreciate the beauty.  Wild grasses and diverse plant life surround long park benches and the field house-recreation building.  A open grassy field,  multi-sport courts courts and children's playground area complete the park, which is about the size of a whole city block.  It's one of several park-based sites where the District operates it's Cooperative Play initiative during the school year for the city's youngest citizens; ages 18 months to 5 years.

Neat history tidbit: Part of the land under Mitchell Park used to belong to the German government.  The United States seized the German property during WW II and consolidated it with the existing, adjacent parkland.  However, before the seizure, in 1929, the Germans razed a farm house on the parcel that was built  in 1795 by Anthony Holmead.  The Holmead family were major land owners in the District and Anthony Holmead also owned, subdivided, sold and even helped name almost all the land that became Pleasant Plains, then Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant.  Pretty cool.