The DC Trail Ranger team partnered with the National Park Service this summer to lead a ride series exploring the rich history of the Anacostia River Trail. We had so much fun learning about the trail!
Which bridges were burned in the War of 1812? What is the story of the ship Pearl? Where in Anacostia Park did the Bonus Army camp? What led to the violence at the Anacostia Pool in 1968? Anacostia River Trail and Anacostia Park have seen both the freedom and oppression of people, to just and unjust decisions by those in power.
Check out all of the sights from our Tales and Trails ride series below:
May – A Monument to Civil Rights
Staring off the story
Bonus army at Anacostia Park. Credit: Signal corps photographer. NAID 593253
Hearing from Evelyn McLean
Notice the Navy Yard behind. Credit: Library of Congress (LC-DIG-hec-36887)
And now MacArthur is at the 11th St Bridge.
Where did thousands of veterans live in Washington DC while demanding the payment of promised World War I bonuses? Anacostia Park! The park was home to the primary camp for the Bonus Army in 1932. Learn more
from the National Park Service.
June – Legacies of the Nation’s River
A lawsuit is filed
And a river way dredged
A hot summer and a closed pool
Violence at the 1949 Anacostia Pool. Credit: Unknown photographer, Flickr: Washington Area Spark
We moved through a big timeline on this ride, starting with talking about the Nacotchtank village on the east bank of the Anacostia, the largest Native American village in the DC boundaries. John Smith sailed the river
, the plans for Kingman Island kept changing and there was a big lawsuit about the appearance of the Navy Yard gate. We ended in the modern era on the 1949 riots at the Anacostia Pool
over DC Recreation Board and white residents’ refusal to integrate.
July – Bikes, Blooms and Botany
Photo credit: Liz McNichol
Finally – plants! Lots of conversation about the fabulous Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
that are right off the trail, but we also saw the capped Kenilworth Dump sprouting monarch butterflies’ favorite food – milkweed, and talked about the silting up of the Anacostia due to deforestation to build Civil War forts.
August – War of 1812: Battles, Burning and Dueling
The British were here! It was a firepower team of WABA, Maryland Milestones, and National Park Service that led our August ride to learn about the Battle of Bladensburg and subsequent burning of the Capitol. We saw the American lines of defense, toured the dueling grounds and ended at the Navy Yard to cover the destruction of Fort McNair and the Navy Yard (Pro tip: Don’t destroy cannons within sparking distance of a well you recently dumped a military fort’s worth of gunpowder barrels down. The gunpowder might not be quite wet and likely to explode.)
Huge thanks to the District Department of Transportation for making the DC Trail Ranger team possible and the National Capital Parks East unit of National Park Service for telling the stories of the park with us.
We’d love your feedback on the ride series if you joined us this summer