• Rock Creek

    Rock Creek

    Park District of Columbia

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  • UPDATE - Temporary Ramp Closure: Rock Creek Parkway at P Street, NW

    Monday, April 14 (8:00 am) thru Saturday, April 19 (5 pm) the ramp from P Street onto the northbound Rock Creek Parkway will be closed for repairs resulting from a storm sewer failure. For additional information, please contact DC Water at 202-787-2202

  • April 1 - 25, 2014: Beach Drive Closures for Pothole Repairs

    There will be intermittent closures on Beach Drive from the Maryland line to the intersection with the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway. Closures will be on weekdays, 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

  • Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway Lane Closures and Construction Update Spring 2014

    Construction work on Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway at Waterside Drive continues. There will be lane closures between rush hours to accommodate work on the roadway, multi-use trail and infrastructure. More »

History & Culture

The Rock Creek Valley has a long and varied history. For millennia, American Indians quarried rock outcroppings to make tools, fished the creek, and hunted wild game in the woodlands. In the 1600s and early 1700s, European Americans claimed title to the land. As tobacco farming and African American slavery became more widespread, Georgetown was chartered at the mouth of Rock Creek. In the late 1700s and into the 1800s, tobacco farming exhausted the soil, resulting in many farmers switching to wheat and corn production. Gristmills, the most successful being Peirce Mill, were constructed along Rock Creek to convert grain into flour.

The Rock Creek area was deforested during the U.S. Civil War. Logs and branches were felled and then laid out systematically throughout the soon-to-be park by Union soldiers to make a Confederate march through the valley impossible. Civil War fortifications in and around the valley bombarded General Jubal Early's Confederate troops during the July, 1864 Battle of Fort Stevens.

In 1890, Rock Creek Park became one of the first federally managed parks. Since then, citizens seeking recreation and re-creation in nature have sought out this 1700 acre park. As an administrative unit of the U.S. National Park System, Rock Creek Park now manages Meridian Hill Park, Dumbarton Oaks Park, Montrose Park, Old Stone House, the Francis Scott Key Memorial Park, Fort Stevens, and many more sites throughout northwest and even northeast D.C. Each of these parks has significant history of their own; find out more by clicking on the links below.

Rock Creek Park: An Administrative History

Rock Creek Park: A report by the Olmsted Brothers (1918)

Meridian Hill Park Cultural Landscape Report, Vol 2, Rock Creek Park (2009)

Montrose Park Cultural Landscape Report, Rock Creek Park (2009)

The Loss of the Frances Scott Key House: Was It Really? (1981)

ROCK CREEK PARK, Prehistoric Landscapes of the Nation's Capital

ROCK CREEK PARK, Historic Resource Study (1990)

Archeology and History in Rock Creek Park

National Park Service History

Civil War Defenses of Washington Historic Resource Study

 

Did You Know?

Gray Fox pups

Three kinds of wild canids (dogs) live in Rock Creek Park, the coyote, the red fox and secretive gray fox.