Glover-Archbold Parkway

The parkland west of Glover Park, in the valley of Foundry Branch, includes a former right of way, intended as a recreational drive, that nearly became a highway.

 

 

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The proposed highway and bridge system. (Washington Post, April 30, 1959, research by Ghosts of DC)

 

 

Students protest plans to build a freeway through Glover-Archbold Park. (The American University Talon, 1971)

 

 

In 1924 the banker Charles Carroll Glover gave the newly instituted National Capital Parks Commission seventy-seven acres in the valley of Foundry Branch, which, with the addition of twenty-eight acres from Anne Archbold, became Glover-Archbold Parkway, which included a 100-foot right-of-way for the construction of a parkway (marked as Arizona Avenue: the name was transferred to its present location in 1954).  This right-of-way seemed benign to the donors in 1924, when there were fewer cars.

After World War II plans to exercise the right-of-way through the park began to go forward. A four-lane divided highway was proposed as a commuter artery. Anne Archbold opposed this: “It is beautifully wooded, with a wealth of wild flowers and bird life. Quiet pathways lead down its sides along the meandering creek bed with its sycamore-tulip tangles, furnishing restful retreats for adults and fascinating children. Such a beautiful park cannot be eliminated if Washington is to grow as a living organism with its parts in proper balance.” (Washington Present And Future: A General Summary Of The Comprehensive Plan For The National Capital And Its Environs, April, 1950; “Glover-Archbold  Parkway”, Washington Post, May  30, 1953)

In 1956-7 the National Capital Park and Planning Commission issued a master plan for the Washington Metropolitan Area that called for construction of an eight-lane Three Sisters Bridge, and a four-lane highway through Glover-Archbold Park.

In 1961 Anne Archbold and C. Carroll Glover, Jr., filed an injunction against the District Commissioners and testified that the project was a violation of the public trust. Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall supported the park advocates, and Senate majority leader Michael Mansfield (D-MT) introduced a bill to transfer the right-of-way to the National Park Service. The bill failed.

As late as 1967 the Commission of Fine Arts and the D.C. Department of Highways approved a plan for the Three Sisters Bridge, but the plan was dropped, and the District government finally ceded the right-of-way in Glover-Archbold Park to the National Park Service. (“Freeway Idea Killed as City Gives Up Glover-Archbold Corridor”, Washington Post, January 13, 1967, B3)

Anne Archbold died at Nassau, 1968: “It was my purpose that the beautiful wooded valley be preserved perpetually for the benefit and pleasure of the public. It  should remain and be enjoyed by all  as a natural sanctuary.” (“Park Donor Anne Archbold, 94, Dies”, Washington Post, March 28, 1968, C14)

In 1971 her executor won an additional victory.  “Involved is the deductibility, as a charitable contribution, of legal fees paid by the taxpayer to a private law firm for the firm’s services in opposing highway construction through land which the taxpayer had earlier given to the United States for park purposes.” (444 F.2d 1120 – Anne Archbold, by John D. Archbold, Executor of the Estate of Anne Archbold, Deceased v. the United States, United States Court of Claims, July 14, 1971)

The nomination of Glover-Archbold Park to the National Register of Historic Places was approved January 16, 2007.

 

(“Park Offered Capital As Gift By Mrs. Archbold”, Star, October 23, 1924, p.19; “Hayden Bill Asks Developing Arizona Avenue: Four-lane Freeway Would Be Built from Canal Road,” Evening Star, December 21, 1947, p.33; “Weaver Street Change to Arizona Ave. OK’d”, Evening Star, January 12, 1954. p.1; “Court Upholds Suit by Park Road Foes,” Washington Star, January 28, 1960; “Glover-Archbold Road is Opposed by Udall,” Evening Star, January 25, 1962; “District Fights to Save Site for Parkway,” Evening Star, March 27, 1962; “Road Ban OK Seen in Glover-Archbold,” Evening Star, April 2, 1962; “AAA Backs Highway for Glover Park,” Evening Star, April 3, 1962; “Rivals Debate Future of Glover-Archbold,” Evening Star, JuIy 23, 1962; Mathilde D. Williams, “The Three Sisters Bridge: A Ghost Span over the Potomac”, Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C. (1969/1970), Vol. 69/70, pp.489-509)