Occasionally the property has been opened to the public for limited tours but not with any regularity.

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 1991, the D.C. No purchase necessary. This weekend we got a rare tour of the dormant McMillan Sand Filtration Site just north of Bloomingdale. Engineers could shovel it out when necessary and drop it down into the cells through 2,100 manholes that are visible in satellite imagery. [4] Boys played ball games on the east portion where there were fewer manhole covers near Michigan Avenue. Like us on Facebook to get the latest on the world's hidden wonders.

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. The goal is to create an architecturally distinct, vibrant, mixed-use development that provides housing, employment, retail, cultural, and recreational opportunities for District residents.

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. Consider supporting our work by becoming a member for as little as $5 a month. 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. Enormous quantities of fresh sand were stored aboveground in parallel rows of stubby concrete silos. [9], Coordinates: 38°55′28.1″N 77°0′37.7″W / 38.924472°N 77.010472°W / 38.924472; -77.010472. They laughed about sometimes falling through the center of a vault to the white sand beneath when a manhole cover had been left open.

"[5], During the Corps of Engineers’ ownership, no commercial development of the site occurred. Read Mayor Bowser’s Presentation on DC’s COVID-19 Situational Update: October 26. 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. 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. For a time, it was a popular destination for picnics, outdoor activities, or a quiet stroll away from the bustle of city life. A chief culprit was the city water supply. D.C. city government purchased the McMillan Sand Filtration Site after it closed in 1986, but the land has been abandoned and largely untended.

As such, the nation’s foremost landscape architect was called in to devise a plan to pretty up the filtration site. This forgotten boat elevator was an engineering marvel in its heyday. Winner will be selected at random on 11/01/2020. The skeletal frame of a decommissioned gas-pumping station offers breathtaking views of greater Berlin. 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.

The redevelopment of the McMillan Sand Filtration Site comes with an eye toward amplifying a unique place in Washington, DC. 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.

DC Entered Phase Two of Reopening on June 22. This grisly headstone doesn’t seem to be resting in peace. The District of Columbia government purchased the site from the federal government in 1987 for $9.3M, in order to facilitate development. Sign up for our newsletter and enter to win the second edition of our book. If a person were to gain access to the site they should remain vigilant.

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. Articles with unsourced statements from December 2009, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 20 October 2020, at 04:32. 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 20 massive cisterns have fallen into neglect, and in some cases have suffered collapse. View the Guidance. 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. The buildings are part of a larger development on the site of the former water filtration plant built between 1902 and 1905. "List of Most Endangered Properties in 2000. We depend on ad revenue to craft and curate stories about the world’s hidden wonders. For more information: McMillan Community Center & Park, News The 4-foot lining of sand actually did a remarkable job at removing bacteria and sediment from the water. 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. Ruins of the McMillan Sand Filtration Site.

It included the site on their "List of Most Endangered Properties in 2000"[1] and again in 2005.[2]. Water percolated through four feet of sand in 25 underground vaults to filter out undesirables. 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. Layer by Layer: A Mexico City Culinary Adventure, Food, Foraging & Mythology With Felicity Roberts & Lori McCarthy, The Forged & The Filched: Stealing (From) the Dead, Washington, D.C., and the Quest for a Perfectly Square City, The Cute Critter Rewriting Our Understanding of Prehistory, How to Give Stolen Artifacts Back to Historic Sites, In Japan, ‘Theater for the People’ Makes Fandom a Part of the Show, Found: A Shipwrecked Nazi Steamer, Still Filled With Cargo, Inside a Domed Pyramid With Astounding Acoustics and a History of Miracles, See the Mysterious Horned Helmet of Henry VIII, Searching for Home and Connection Through Typewritten Poetry, The Female Shark Spotter Protecting Réunion Island’s Surfers, Peek Inside NYC’s Iconic Rubber Stamp Shop, carried a stream laced with bacteria and a notorious amount of Potomac mud, described by a, reporter as a “Seal-brown mixture of water and real estate.”, , 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.”, At the time there was a different, more positive image of Washington’s water supply as a. , and not merely a piece of infrastructure. ", "List of Most Endangered Properties in 2005. The facility relied entirely on sand to clean the water; at the time, this method scaled better and was more cost effective than using chemicals.

During World War I the Girl Scouts camped and grew vegetables on the site between North Capitol Street and First Street. [8] Their proposal includes a mix of uses, including housing, shopping and office space. © 2020 Atlas Obscura. McMillan site may soon see some demolition required for redevelopment.

The VMP proposal has met with opposition from some neighborhood groups. Until recently, specially arranged biannual tours were arranged for scores of visitors curious about the odd-looking structures. To learn more or withdraw consent, please visit our cookie policy. 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. Olmsted was so concerned about this condition that he thought it was, “perhaps inexpedient to admit the public to use the plain even upon a fenced path.”. Mayor Bowser Breaks Ground on McMillan Redevelopment in Ward 5   Testimony of Anne Sellin re B16-0902, the Transfer of McMillan Park Reservoir to NCRC, October 20, 2006. As such, the nation’s foremost landscape architect was called in to devise a plan to pretty up the filtration site. The treatment system is operated by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Washington, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. An overlooked oasis of quiet on the grounds of Washington's monumental basilica. When the National Capital Planning Commission prepared the federal element of its first Comprehensive Plan in 1983, it included McMillan Park as among the "Parks, Open Space and Natural Features" of the city that "should be conserved and whose essential Open Space Character [be] maintained.

The government selected a development team, Vision McMillan Partners, in 2007.

It is a fantastic opportunity for preservation and a redevelopment project similar to New York’s High Line.