Montrose Park occupies land that belonged to ropemaking magnate Robert Parrott during the early 19th century. Parrott generously allowed Georgetown residents to use his tract of land for picnics and meetings. The area became known as Parrott's Woods and by the early 20th century it had fallen into disrepair. Sarah Louisa Rittenhouse spearheaded a group of women who petitioned Congress to buy the acreage and establish Montrose Park "for the recreation and pleasure of the people."
Adjacent to Montrose Park is Dumbarton Park, a wilderness area of 27 acres that was established by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss who purchased Dumbarton Oaks House in 1920. Mr. and Mrs. Bliss hired Beatrix Ferrand to create the masterful 10 acre formal gardens around the house. The Blisses gave a majority of Dumbarton Oaks to Harvard University in 1940.
Montrose and Dumbarton Parks are public parks accessible to the public. Dumbarton Oaks is located at 1703 32nd St., N.W. From March 15 through October, the gardens are open daily, except Mondays, from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm; November-March 14: 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. They are closed during inclement weather, national holidays, and Christmas eve. The museum and shop are open daily (except Monday and federal holidays) from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
Did You Know?
The reason why the Old Stone House has low ceilings is based on practical architecture. Low vaulted ceilings trap heat from the downstairs fireplaces into the stones of the home. Gradually, the heat will radiate upwards to the living areas.