Constitution Gardens

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DC Trip 2023

Washington, DC possesses the largest concentration of National Park Service units of any metropolitan area. I decided to use one of my long weekends in April to visit DC and check a few units off my list. I toured several memorials, monuments and other sites, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The National Mall

The National Mall stretches from the Capitol to the Potomac River. It serves as “America’s Front Lawn” and its premiere civic and symbolic space. Originally in the L’Enfant plan for the city, the National Mall and Memorial Parks unit of the NPS protects iconic monuments and memorials and over 1,000 acres of greenspace. From the reflecting pool , I veered off towards the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Constitution Gardens

Constitution Gardens in Washington, D.C. has a unique history. The Army Corps of Engineers dredged this area in the early 20th century to reclaim it from being underwater. During World War I, the U.S. Navy constructed temporary offices buildings here. President Richard Nixon advocated for their demolition in 1970 and for the creation of a park on the site. In 1976, Constitution Gardens opened as a Bicentennial tribute to the American Revolution. It has since been its own park unit under the National Park Service’s administration.

Constitution Gardens features 50 acres with an east-west-oriented lake. A wooden bridge connects the mainland to a half-acre island dedicated to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence. These signers are commemorated with granite blocks bearing carvings of their signatures, names, hometowns, and occupations. The park is home to nearly two thousand trees, a mix of native species and flowering understory trees. Many of these trees were replanted due to poor soil conditions and heavy rains during the park’s construction in 1975-76.

I walked to the gardens from the nearby Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial. A storm kicked up a few minutes after I got there so I only had time to snap a few phone pics.

2023 DC Trip Posts

Location: Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC
Designation: National Park Service Unit
Date designated/established: 1982
Date of my visit: April 6, 2023