I’ve driven past Meridian Hill Park many times, but finally decided on a warm Sunday afternoon to walk into it.
What a disappointment.
Meridian Hill Park needs a lot of love. The kind that only comes through lots of cash. Nearly all the grass is dead in the upper areas of the 12-acre park completed in 1940. The statue of Joan of Arc is missing its sword. But the real bummer is no water in the cascading 13 basins of the Italianate marble fountain. It’s usually breath taking. Now it’s gasping for life.
Not that the park is abandoned. There were plenty of young people enjoying the park. Three different bridal parties posed for photos. There’s plenty of life around Meridian Hill. It just needs a pulse of a lifeline for revitalization.
Even the James Buchanan Memorial, the only local site dedicated to our only bachelor U.S. president, needs some cleaning. Oddly, Buchanan’s presence is why the park wasn’t renamed Malcolm X park years ago despite many locals still calling it so. Seems a presidential memorial site can’t be named for anyone else.
Given Meridian Hill Park was once a seedy area decades ago, it’s present state is a major improvement. But, there are still miles to go in its recovery.