Pennsylvania Ave. Makes List Of 'Endangered Landscapes' | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Pennsylvania Ave. Makes List Of 'Endangered Landscapes'

Play associated audio
A national nonprofit has named Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. as one of the country's 10 most endangered landmarks.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/biodork/6912762034/
A national nonprofit has named Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. as one of the country's 10 most endangered landmarks.

D.C.'s historic Pennsylvania Avenue is now listed among the nation's most endangered landscapes, and a preservation group blames the problem on neglect and maintenance issues.

From a vantage point on Pennsylvania Avenue near 3rd Street NW, the United States Capitol looms over a grand avenue leading all the way to the gates of the White House. 

But a closer look reveals an aging infrastructure complete with park benches falling apart, water fountains that don't work and landscaping in desperate need of some TLC.

Well that's what the the Cultural Landscape Foundation sees, anyway. The nonprofit has released its annual report of the 12 most "at-risk" historic sites in the nation, and this year D.C.'s Pennsylvania Avenue is on the list. 

"Think about this the next time you walk there. I've never seen square pavers like that that are that deep brown," says Charles Birnbaum, the foundation's founder as he walks down the sidewalk of the storied street. "And then the benches the tree gates, the water fountains — all of those things remind you of French boulevards, but yet they are modern. So you have all of these features, which have been slowly and incrementally declining."

The maintenance issues started in 1996, the foundation says, when Congress cut funding for the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation. Also a concern: the security features added after 9/11 that the foundation says were added without regard for the historic significance of the street.

"The other thing that's happened is sort of the plop and drop of all of these planters over time," Birnbaum says.

The National Park Service, which has jurisdiction over the avenue, is working with a variety of stakeholders on the preservation of the avenue and welcomes the interest of the foundation, the parks superintendent says.

NPR

A Little Chiltomate Raises The Underappreciated Turkey Thigh

Elizabeth Wiley, chef-owner of two top Dayton, Ohio, restaurants, goes off-menu to cook beer-braised turkey thighs in her home kitchen.
NPR

A Little Chiltomate Raises The Underappreciated Turkey Thigh

Elizabeth Wiley, chef-owner of two top Dayton, Ohio, restaurants, goes off-menu to cook beer-braised turkey thighs in her home kitchen.
NPR

Decades Of Politics And Partnership In Jimmy Carter's 'Full Life'

Former president Jimmy Carter was one of the youngest ex-presidents ever when he left office in 1981. His new memoir, A Full Life, looks back at his years of public service, in and out of office.
NPR

Pilot In Solar-Powered Plane Sets Aviation Record

André Borschberg, flying Solar Impulse 2, set a new record of 120 hours in the cockpit on a journey from Japan to Hawaii.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.