The land for Meridian Hill Park, a National Historic Landmark, was acquired by the Federal government in 1912. The Park took a number of years to complete, with an upper mall opening to the public in 1923 and the remainder of the Park opening in 1936. The upper mall is linked to a lower plaza by the Park’s centerpiece, a cascading fountain with thirteen basins culminating in a reflecting pool. The Park is further defined by its architectural elements (which include retaining walls, stairs, walks, benches, and a variety of Classical ornamental features) created by John Joseph Earley using a highly refined form of exposed aggregate concrete in a variety of colors.
Numerous aspects of Meridian Hill Park’s historically significant structures, furnishings, objects, and plantings have suffered degradation from time, weather, and use. Mills + Schnoering Architects is working with the National Park Service on a phased restoration plan. Work includes reinstatement of much of the original planting; restoration of nearly 1,800 feet of perimeter wall and fence; restoration and replacement of deteriorated and missing concrete elements; provision of new barrier-free access to the Lower Plaza; and a full interpretive signage program.