The Ruins of Ancient Washington DC

Location: Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008, United States
Altitude: 93.00 m

I was hiking today in Rock Creek Park and near the end of the outing I happened upon vine-covered stone buildings in the forest that, upon first sight, reminded me of ancient ruins I have seen in my visits to Mexico and parts of Central America. Upon closer examination I discovered they were not buildings at all but haphazardly stacked, large blocks of sandstone and marble. Many of the blocks had what must have once been exquisitely carved features, but are now severely weathered. I marked the location on my GPS and pulled out my camera and began photographing the “ruins.”

Once I returned home I immediately set to work researching my find on the internet. Had anyone else happened upon this? and what were all of these blocks doing in the forest behind the maintenance facility in Rock Creek Park: It didn’t take long until I had my answer. The stones, “were part of what was torn down during a renovation that started in 1958 and ended in 1962. The pieces, mostly sandstone and some marble from the east front façade, likely originate from the rebuilding that occurred after the Capitol was nearly burned down in the War of 1812. Instead of reusing the pieces, they were placed in this part of Rock Creek Park per an agreement with then-Architect of the Capitol J. George Stewart and the National Park Service (NPS).” – For more, see the article that the Washington City Paper wrote titled, Stone-Cold Whodunit: Chunks of the Capitol have been gathering moss in Rock Creek Park for 50 years. There’s an even deeper mystery behind them.

After living here and exploring DC for almost 4 years I am reminded that there is still so much of the city left to discover.

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