In 1993, the National Park Service took over maintenance of Dupont Circle which is news to me. As I strolled through the circle this morning I noticed that they were replacing a section of the circular benches that are often the subject of local area photographers. I stopped to talk to the workers for a while who were at first skeptical when I asked them to take some pictures, but by the end of our talk they said, “Feel free to come back and take more pictures if you want.”
After a few years of exposure to the elements, the wood begins to rot which is when the NPS springs into action. I often wondered how they got the wooden slats to bend into their arched form. As you can see they start with one end of the board, anchor it to the concrete bench, and keep working their way down to the end, clamping it as they go. They use fir wood due to its durability, which is key when a bunch of people are going to be sitting on it every day.
Thank you, National Park Service, for keeping Dupont Circle in tip top shape!
I’ll start by saying appreciate the sentiment of this post and do feel that any work NPS puts into beatifying the city should be applauded. Are they really doing enough though? Should they get a glowing review for replacing rotting benches in the parks of the nations capitol?
Without going on and on, this is the capitol city of one the greatest and richest nations in the world. The state of our public parks is pitiful. Is there any park in DC that compares in beauty to those of Paris, Beijing, or New York’s Central Park? Your readers could probably list hundreds of good examples where a city, so dependant on tourist, has invested in beautification. For goodness sakes, the national mall is, for the most part, a wasteland. Could the park service plant a single tulip? From what I understand, the Cherry Blossom festival draws the greatest tourism numbers for the area each year. The trees, and the ARE gorgeous, only bloom for two weeks or less. Could we not extend some beauty throughout the mall, and even across the city, for a longer period?
As with all things, I have no doubt that the issue comes down to money. How is it that other on-going beautification programs are so successful around the world? Why are these important spaces run by an agency that has millions of acres to care for? What do Yosemite and the SD Badlands National Parks have in common with the maintenance and beautification of the parks in one of the great cities of the world? Nothing.