GSA iterated its position that open space was not the highest and best use of the property, and insisted on selling the property for mixed commercial development over the objections of the McMillan Park Committee.. Its backers aimed to benefit society by taking on the squalid urban conditions of the Industrial Revolution.
Water percolated through four feet of sand in 25 underground vaults to filter out undesirables.
Since the time of purchase, the property has remained unused and closed to the public. McMillan Sand Filtration Site is a twenty-five acre decommissioned water treatment plant in northwest Washington, D.C., built as part of the historic McMillan Reservoir Park. Like Atlas Obscura and get our latest and greatest stories in your Facebook feed.
 A legacy of the City Beautiful Movement and an integral part of the McMillan Plan to modernize Washington, the complex is an engineering wonder that served its original purpose until 1986. D.C. city government purchased the McMillan Sand Filtration Site after it closed in 1986, but the land has been abandoned and largely untended.
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Below grade, there are twenty catacomb-like cells, each an acre in extent, where sand was used to filter water from the Potomac River by way of the Washington Aqueduct. Occasionally the property has been opened to the public for limited tours but not with any regularity. It is a fantastic opportunity for preservation and a redevelopment project similar to New York’s High Line. It is bound on the north by Michigan Avenue, on the east by North Capitol Street, on the south by Channing Street and on the west by McMillan Drive; which runs along the edge of the reservoir, to which it was formerly attached. The unfiltered Washington Aqueduct carried a stream laced with bacteria and a notorious amount of Potomac mud, described by a Washington Post reporter as a “Seal-brown mixture of water and real estate.”. In reality, Olmsted created a pathway that surrounded and overlooked the sand filtration site, rather than allowing public access on the plain, based on Olmsted’s recognition of the dangerous condition created by the 2,100 manholes across the plains, many of which would be open at any given time.
Atlas Obscura and our trusted partners use technology such as cookies on our website to personalise ads, support social media features, and analyse our traffic. Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. designed a public park at the adjacent reservoir on the west side of 1st ST NW that became an important community gathering place for northeast District residents. Like us on Facebook to get the latest on the world's hidden wonders.
The VMP proposal has met with opposition from some neighborhood groups. Follow us on social media to add even more wonder to your day. No purchase necessary. D.C. city government purchased the McMillan Sand Filtration Site after it closed in 1986, but the land has been abandoned and largely untended. Olmsted’s plantings and perimeter pathway were designed to complement the “interesting and remarkable” appearance of the sand storage towers, the walls of which he covered in ivy.  Boys played ball games on the east portion where there were fewer manhole covers near Michigan Avenue. Offer available only in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico). DC Entered Phase Two of Reopening on June 22.
The treatment system is operated by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. designed a public park at the McMillan Sand Filtration Site that became an important community gathering place for northeast District residents. The 20 massive cisterns have fallen into neglect, and in some cases have suffered collapse. In 2016, courts sided with community activists and rejected the DC Zoning Commission's approval of a $720 million project to transform the site into retail, office and residential space.
It included the site on their "List of Most Endangered Properties in 2000" and again in 2005.. Public access to the site has been restricted since World War II, when the Army erected a fence to guard against sabotage of the city's water supply. Engineers could shovel it out when necessary and drop it down into the cells through 2,100 manholes that are visible in satellite imagery.
Articles with unsourced statements from December 2009, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 20 October 2020, at 04:32. During World War I the Girl Scouts camped and grew vegetables on the site between North Capitol Street and First Street. Largest Roman Catholic church in North America.
The redevelopment of the McMillan Sand Filtration Site comes with an eye toward amplifying a unique place in Washington, DC. The site was obsolete by the late 20th century and declared surplus in 1986.
Improvements like the Washington Aqueduct and the McMillan Sand Filtration Site came to D.C. as part of the City Beautiful reform movement. The National Capital Revitalization Corporation (NCRC), a development agency created by the city, selected the site as part of a land swap deal involving Anacostia riverfront property and the construction of the Nationals Park baseball stadium.
Families, on hot summer nights, slept in the site to catch the summer breezes that blew over the escarpment.
Two paved courts lined by regulator houses, tower-like sand bins, sand washers and the gated entrances to the underground filter cells provided a promenade for citizens taking the air in the park before it was fenced off in WWII.
According to a historic preservation report, the sand was brought in from Laurel, Maryland on the B&O Railroad and “went through an extensive preparation process to meet specifications for cleanliness, removing all traces of clay and other undesirable particles.”. Olmsted’s plantings and perimeter pathway around the sand filtration site were designed to complement the “interesting and remarkable” appearance of the sand storage towers, the walls of which he covered in ivy. This forgotten boat elevator was an engineering marvel in its heyday.
Mayor Bowser Breaks Ground on McMillan Redevelopment in Ward 5 Today all 25 acres sit behind a chain-link fence. The 25-acre former McMillan Reservoir Sand Filtration Site, located at North Capitol Street and Michigan Avenue, NW, is to be redeveloped into a mixed-use project that shall include historic preservation, open space, residential, retail, office, and hotel uses. The District of Columbia government purchased the site from the federal government in 1987 for $9.3M, in order to facilitate development. Please click below to consent to the use of this technology while browsing our site. The plan was unanimously approved by the Historic Preservation Review Board in May of 2016, which will vote on the buildings on the site but not the overall Master Plan for redevelopment. DC Entered Phase Two of Reopening on June 22.
The site would also include a network of accessible park space, including 6.25 acres (2.53 ha) on the southern end of the site, a 1-acre healing garden on the north end, and an acre of green space over a preserved cell at the north end.
View the Guidance. Offer subject to change without notice. It is bound on the north by Michigan Avenue, on the east by North Capitol Street, on the south by Channing Street and on the west by First Street.
D.C. city government purchased the McMillan Sand Filtration Site after it closed in 1986, but the land has been abandoned and largely untended. See. The purification system was a slow sand filter design that became obsolete by the late 20th century.
Its innovative system of water purification, which relied on sand rather than chemicals, led to the elimination of typhoid epidemics and the reduction of many other communicable diseases in the city.
The DMPED Real Estate Project Pipeline provides our stakeholders with real time updates on the status of real estate projects located across the District of Columbia. The 4-foot lining of sand actually did a remarkable job at removing bacteria and sediment from the water. coronavirus.dc.gov
Historic Preservation Review Board designated McMillan Park a Historic Landmark and nominated the site for the National Register of Historic Places.
The site sits behind locked fences between North Capitol Street, Channing Street NW, 1st Street NW, and Michigan Avenue NW. The sand filters are closed to the public and those who have gained access did so with the understanding that they were trespassing on private property. Ruins of the McMillan Sand Filtration Site.
This grisly headstone doesn’t seem to be resting in peace.
McMillan Sand Filtration Site - A Vision for the New McMillan.
The 25-acre McMillan slow sand filtration plant is located at the corner of Michigan Avenue and North Capitol Street in Washington, D.C. View the Guidance. Winner will be selected at random on 11/01/2020.
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