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

'The Terror Years' Traces The Rise Of Al-Qaida And ISIS

Lawrence Wright's new book collects his essays for The New Yorker on the growth of terrorism in the Middle East, from the Sept. 11 attacks to the recent beheadings of journalists and aid workers.
NPR

Berkeley's Soda Tax Appears To Cut Consumption Of Sugary Drinks

According to a new study, the nation's first soda tax succeeded in cutting consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. But there's uncertainty about whether the effect will be permanent.
WAMU 88.5

Questions About Hillary Clinton’s Newly Uncovered Emails

A federal judge orders a review of nearly fifteen thousand recently discovered Hillary Clinton emails from her time as Secretary of State. A new batch related to the Clinton Foundation was also released. Join us to discuss ongoing questions.

WAMU 88.5

Questions About Hillary Clinton’s Newly Uncovered Emails

A federal judge orders a review of nearly fifteen thousand recently discovered Hillary Clinton emails from her time as Secretary of State. A new batch related to the Clinton Foundation was also released. Join us to discuss ongoing questions.

Leave a Comment

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