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Montrose Park - History

The property was a prominent private estate from 1804-1911, and features from this era still exist, including the Ropewalk, Summerhouse, Boxwood Gardens and several mature canopy trees along the edge of the plateau.  In 1904 the property was offered up for sale and considered for subdivision development.  However, one woman, Sarah Louisa Rittenhouse, worked relentlessly to persuade Congress and the Senate to authorize purchase of the Montrose estate for a public park.  After a hard-fought battle Congress finally established Montrose Park on March 2, 1911.


From 1914-1924 the federal Office of Public Buildings and Grounds hired a series of landscape architects including George Burnap, Charles Diggs, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., and Horace Peaslee to develop plans for the park.  The stated intent was to keep the park in character of a large country estate.  Features from this era include the pedestrian circulation system of paths, the Entrance Ellipse, Pergola, and Lodge.


In 1933 The National Park Service assumed management of the park after the Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks was abolished.   In 2003 a Cultural Landscape Report was developed to serve as the preferred treatment document for the park.


Friends of Montrose Park is dedicated to helping the National Park Service maintain and restore the park as outlined in the Cultural Landscape Report.

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