Prince William Forest Park
Administrative History
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The history of Prince William Forest Park is a multi-layered mosaic encompassing the original residents of the area, park administrators, the U. S. military forces, and official Washington including the office of the President. A definitive history of every facet of this rich heritage would be impossible to accomplish within the limited time frame afforded this effort. An overview of Prince William Forest Park's administrative history, detailing several critical periods in the park's development, has been produced through the cooperative efforts of many talented people.

Overall supervision of all research and writing of the park's history was provided by Barry Mackintosh, Bureau Historian for the National Park Service, and Dr. Peter Henriques, Graduate Intern Coordinator of George Mason University. The invaluable experience of these two scholars guiding this research effort helped to insure both its accuracy and relevancy. Marcia Keener, Management Assistant at Prince William Forest Park, initiated this project and assisted in every phase of the effort with critical logistical and moral support.

The location of valuable records critical to this effort was facilitated by staff members of the National Capital Parks. Mrs. Jean Smith located records at the Suitland Record Center that park staff believed to be lost. Mr. Joseph Ronsisvalle introduced this researcher to the vast stores of information to be found at the Cartographic Center of the National Archives on South Picket Street in Alexandria, Virginia.

Every member of the Prince William Park staff with whom I came in contact took an active interest in this history, often providing leads to key persons connected to the park for oral interviews. Kelvin Fields especially, extended his help on his own time to act as a bridge between this researcher and "old timers" in the black community who provided valuable eyewitness accounts of the park's early construction. Mrs. Laura Hobbs, secretary to the superintendent, patiently answered every woeful plea for help as she unraveled the mysteries of the park's CPT in the production phase of this effort. Finish typing was expertly handled by Mary E. Reed, of Triangle, Virginia.

It would be impossible to thank everyone who offered assistance on this project. However, many unknown staff persons at the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Prince William County School Board, and the Bureau of Docks and Yards at the Washington Navy Yard, gave freely of their time to assist in locating all the source material for this history. While just doing their jobs, these individuals helped to spur me on.

Finally, Superintendent Robert L. Harney of Prince William Forest Park was always available to act as coach and friend underscoring the importance of this effort and giving me ready admittance to a corps of unique and talented individuals on the park staff.

Susan Cary Strickland
January 1986

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Last Updated: 31-Jul-2003