An Administrative History-Camp Good Will, Golf, and the Miller Cabin

Among the first park facilities was Camp Good Will, a summer camp for underprivileged white children accompanied by their mothers. Begun in 1904 by the Committee on the Prevention of Consumption, a local charity, it was sited between Milk House Ford and 16th Street. It was joined by the Baby Hospital Camp, for poor infants suffering from "summer complaint."

A public golf course was begun in the same general area in 1907 but was not completed. Foreman Patrick Joyce supervised construction of a new nine-hole course on the site between October 1921 and May 1923. This forced relocation of Camp Good Will to a six-acre site west of Rock Creek, north of the Civil War Fort DeRussy, in the summer of 1923. Washington architect Arthur B. Heaton contributed building designs and landscape architect John H. Small laid out the grounds for the new camp, now operated by the Summer Outings Committee of the Associated Charities. Civic clubs were solicited for construction funds, and an administration building, dining hall, nursery, two pavillions, two bathhouses, three dozen tent platforms, a pool, and ball fields were built. As it had previously, the camp served 150 mothers and children for two-week periods, with the attendees staying in tents. [23]

The new golf course was operated by Norman B. Frost and Harold D. Miller in 1923 and 1924, but the Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks judged their management unsatisfactory and declined to renew their concession contract. In 1925 the Joint Welfare Service, a War Department affiliate, operated the course and Public Buildings and Public Parks added another nine holes. A year later the concession went to the Park Amusement Company, which became the S. G. Leoffler Company in the mid-1930s and held the concession until 1982. [24]

In 1911 the Board of Control acquired an unwanted addition to the park. Joaquin Miller, a colorful California poet who affected rustic ways, had built a log cabin on 16th Street near the site to be developed as Meridian Hill Park. The California State Association sought to move it to Rock Creek Park. The board refused the request, but Sen. John D. Works of California intervened successfully on the association's behalf. [25] The cabin was placed near the east bank of Rock Creek north of Military Road and used as a shelter. After Miller's death in 1913 his family maintained ties to the cabin. In 1931 Public Buildings and Public Parks leased it to Pherne Miller, his niece, who conducted art classes and sold candy and soft drinks there until the mid-1950's.


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Last updated: April 10, 2015

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