Postcard From Past Glen Echo Park

Text and photos by Deb Holmes

An impromptu puppet performance at Glen Echo Park.

Since 1971, Glen Echo park has been a public cultural arts center. Classes in art, dance and performance are offered. The Puppet Co. performs with life-sized marionettes, and an Adventure Theatre offers performances to youngsters.

Restoration of the remaining park buildings largely relies on both volunteer labor and fundraising efforts. The Glen Echo Foundation works in cooperation with the National Park Service to preserve existing structures, enhance the park and develop and support cultural and educational programs.

Nearly restored on the outside, but no longer serving up sugary treats, the Candy Corner. Behind this relic from the past, an art class meets.

These yurts, designed after an ancient Mongolian dwelling, were recycled from government surplus into studio spaces for resident artists in the 1970s. Above, a weekend art class, outside the yurts. Classes for children and adults are available throughout the year.

A kiln fires up pottery made by resident Glen Echo artists and their students.

Glen Echo park is open year-round daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Artists and other educators provide public classes in music, painting, photography, ceramics, glass, dance and other fine arts.

Theater productions and ranger-led programs are also done throughout the year. Summertime brings dances, demonstrations, workshops and festivals. The carousel runs May through September on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Discovery Creek children's nature center operates year-round in the former Park Police horse stables. The Spanish Ballroom is open year-round and features such diverse dances as contra, swing, lindy hop, waltz, Cajun, zydeco, tango and ceili.

Minnehaha Creek bed below the park was restored by the National Park Service in 1992. A parking lot, which had collapsed in a 1989 flood was also restored.

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