A Great Park System
A Great Park System
This 1901 Washington Post article discusses the newly formed McMillan Commission. Architect Burnham, who arranged World's Fair Grounds, and landscape expert F.L. Olmsted are among the newly appointed members of the committee. The article is hopeful that they will create artistic parks that will continue on the tradition of great parks in the City.
The Washington Post.
A Great Park System: Is about to be planned with artistic skill. Commissioners have been named: Architect Burnham, who arranged world’s fair ground, and landscape expert Olmsted confer with senator McMillan and drive through Rock Creek Park – there are a number of parks which will form a nucleus of the proposed system. Behind a pair of fast moving bays, Senator McMillan, the chairman of the District Committee, drove through Rock Creek Park yesterday afternoon. With him were Mr. JH Burnham, the Chicago architect, whose artistic skill was manifest in the arrangement of the World’s Fair, as Chicago; Mr. Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect, and Mr. Charles Moore, the secretary of the District Committee. Mr. Burnham and Mr. Olmsted are two members of a commission which has been authorized by the Senate to report upon “plans for the development and improvement of the entire park system of the District of Columbia.” There will be another member of the commission, to be selected by Messrs. Burnham and Olmsted. It is possible that Mr. Charles McKim, of New York, or Prof. Sargent, of the Arnold Arboretum, Boston, may be chosen. Mr. Burnham arrived in the city yesterday morning from Chicago, in response to the notification that the committee of the American Institute of Architects had recommended his appointment, together with Mr. Olmsted. He went at once to the Capitol, where he had a lengthy conference with Senator McMillan, and manifested the greatest amount of interest in the duty which has been assigned him. The drive in the afternoon was for the purpose of acquitting the park commissioners with the work which has already been accomplished in Rock Creek and Zoological parks, and both gentlemen expressed their pleasure at the progress made. It is intended to devise a plan whereby all the parks of the District can be brought together into one system through boulevard connections, as is done in Boston and Chicago. These cities have spent millions of dollars in extending and beautifying the parks, Senator McMillan also recalled yesterday that the driveway from San Francisco to the ocean, which was formerly a sandy and desolate avenue, is now a most picturesque thoroughfare. Parks to Be in the System. There are already several parks in the District to form a nucleus for the proposed park system. Rock Creek Park, the Zoological park, the Soldiers’ Home grounds, the Potomac Park, which is the legal name for the reclaimed flats, and the Mall need only to be connected by boulevards to form an excellent system. At present there is no large par, except Lincoln Park, in the eastern part of the city, but it is believed that the flats of the Anacostia River can be reclaimed and made available for park purposes. The commission will also have authority to suggest a general plan for continuing the erection of public buildings in Washington, the idea being to avoid, as far as possible, incongruities in architecture, and also the construction of buildings without surrounding ground, as is proposed in the new department of justice. It is expected that the commission will be ready to submit a report to Congress at the beginning of the next session. When that is done, a joint committee will be suggested, made up of members of the District committees, the Public Buildings Committee, and the Library committees of both Houses, so as to secure cooperation of all interests concerned in the development of the Capital. N estimate has yet been made of the cost of the park system, but it is believed that the entire plan can be carried into execution without great expense. The preliminary expense of preparing the plans will be about $10,000.