Rock Creek Park: Overview

Introduction Credits:
Kevin B. Semler

Introduction Date:

Introduction Text:

MAN v. NATURE, The Life and Health of Rock Creek Park in Limbo....

Rock Creek Park falls in with a long line of other great urban park projects such as New York City’s Central Park or Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The premise behind setting aside areas to be left untouched by urban growth is twofold. The first, more functional reason is to provide recreational areas for the population of a city. Rock Creek Park has hundreds of facilities, ranging from a golf course to equestrian riding trails. The second reason lies in the aesthetically pleasing nature of urban development. Nature, when placed in contrast with the cement jungles of modern cities provides a wonderful escape and release from urban pressures.

Creating a modern, growing, and capital city places city planners and groups such as the Committee of 100 on the Federal City in a difficult situation. The documents in this collection are meant to bring those difficulties to the attention of students interested in the history of Washington as well as in the protection of the remaining oases of nature in an increasingly urban world. Although dealing with seemingly inanimate places, the city and the park are each alive in their inverse relationships. Keep in mind the conflicting interests between Rock Creek and The United States Capital, and that unintended consequences detrimental to the health of nature can spring up from the most innocent of human endeavors.

Document List

The Creek and the City: A Special Report to the Nation. Urban Pressures on a Natural Stream; Rock Creek Park and Metropolitan Washington. (00/00/1967)
A 1967 pamphlet about the increasing pressures a growing Washington population has on the surrounding environment. The U.S. Department of the Interior fights for the survival of Rock Creek Park, an area supposedly preserved from develoment, but nontheless is under assault from a growing metropolis.
James G. Deane letter to Mrs. Caroline Freeland and Mrs. James H. Rowe (11/01/1967)
Correspondence that discusses continued roadbuilding and disruption of natural lands in Rock Creek Park.