Stanton Park

Stanton Park is a designed cultural landscape located in northeast Washington, D.C., between 6th Street NE to the east and 4th Street NE to the west. The park was created as part of the implementation of the L'Enfant Plan for the City of Washington, and it has been a public park since the first improvements to the area in the 1870s.

"The situation of these Squares is such that they are the most advantageously and reciprocally seen from each other..." Pierre L'Enfant, in HABS DC-686, 1993

Black and white aerial view of Stanton Park, looking northwest
Aerial view of Stanton Park, looking northwest

NPS/Jack Boucher for HABS, 1993

In 1791, the District Commissioners acquired undeveloped land that is now Stanton Park as part of the right-of-way for the city's street and avenue system. The area was not fenced off as a public park until 1867, and in 1871 it became known as Stanton Square after Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton.

Soon after, Congress authorized a statue of Revolutionary general Nathanael Greene, which was erected in the park in 1878. The park featured formal flower beds among winding paths. After a 1933 redesign, the landscape was altered to reinforce the central focal point of the park, with formal walkways and a more sparsely planted landscape. 

 

Two people at the perimeter of a city park appear small under a large canopy of trees.
View of the perimeter of Stanton Park in 1927.

NPS (NCR Division of Lands, Resources and Planning, Reservation File 15)

Although modifications were made to the site furnishings, vegetation, and central walkways in the 1960s, most of the significant landscape characteristics were retained (circulation, views and vistas, and spatial organization). In these ways, the park still appears as it did during the latest period of significance (1877-1933) when the present alignment of most of the walkways were constructed. 

There is partial integrity to the two earlier periods of significances: 1791, when the land was first set aside as a public reservation, and 1867-1877, when the Greene statue was placed in the center of the park and linden trees were planted around the perimeter of the park.
A site plan drawing of the city park shows significant views from and toward the center monument.
Designed vistas created by the 1930s redesign of the park are still apparent at the park.

NPS, 2004

Quick Facts

  • Cultural Landscape Type: Designed
  • National Register Significance Level: National
  • National Register Significance Criteria: A,C
  • Periods of Significance: 1791; 1867-1933

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Last updated: February 2, 2018