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  About Klingle Road


Klingle Road has been a public roadway since 1839 (formerly known as Klingle Ford Road), since before most of Woodley Park and Cleveland Park were developed.  

In 1885, the Klingle Road right of way was dedicated to the City for the purpose of staying a road "forever".

Klingle Road was used for logging and by farmers since well before the creation of Rock Creek Park in 1880.

When Rock Creek Park was established, only three country lanes, Klingle, Pierce Mill, and Military Roads had through connections on either side of the valley above the National Zoological Park.  These roads and the major north-south routes on the eastern and western edges of what became Rock Creek Park, such as Fourteenth Street, Broad Branch, and Daniel's (today Oregon Avenue) Roads, largely determined the development of the land area into the twentieth century.

Klingle Road was dedicated as a public highway under D.C. Code, Title 7, Chap. 1, 7-104.

Klingle Road was used by farmers for decades until just before World War I to bring grain to Pierce Mill.

Klingle Road connects the Mt. Pleasant Historic District (National Register of Historical Places No. 87001726) to the Old Woodley Park Historic District (Reg. No. 90000856).

Klingle Road is associated with the Klingle Mansion (3545 Williamsburg Lane, NW.) which also is listed on the National Register of Historical Places (No. 73000223) along with the Causeway at 3029 Klingle Road (No. 90000910).

Mt. Pleasant residents from the early 1900's on used Klingle Road for quick, easy access to the new neighborhoods to the west and to the National Cathedral, Glover Park, Burleith, Georgetown, and northbound Massachusetts Avenue to Ward Circle, until it was made impassable by neglect in 1991.

In 1913 the city generated a plan to straighten and widen the street as Klingle Parkway, connecting Beach Drive and Reno Road.

"The dominant consideration, never to be subordinated to any other purpose
in dealing with Rock Creek Park, is the permanent preservation of its wonderful
natural beauty, and the making of that beauty accessible to people
." Olmsted

In 1901, the District of Columbia recorded a permanent system of highways and incorporated these designations as part of a highway plan within the DC Code. By law, all spaces on any duly recorded plat, designated as a street or road became a "public way", if it were recorded as such in 1901. Klingle Road was recorded in 1885 as a public road with the DC Recorder of Deeds and became a part of the DC's permanent system of roads.

In addition to being a DC public road, Klingle Road has federal significance. Klingle Road is referenced as the historic southern border for Rock Creek Park, the 1,754.62 acre parcel legally defined as Reservation 339. The park's boundaries are roughly defined as Sixteenth Street on the east, Oregon Avenue and Branch Road on the west, the District line and Parkside Drive on the north and Klingle Road on the south. A bill establishing Rock Creek Park was approved by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison on September 27, 1890, five years after Klingle Road was land-dedicated to the District of Columbia for use as a public highway. Klingle Road functions as a public access road for Rock Creek Park, which is located in the northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C.

Rock Creek Park retains a high degree of integrity that well reflects the development of this public landscape between 1791 and 1941.In 1917, the Board of Control commissioned the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., and his half-brother John C. Olmsted to prepare a planning study for the future development of Rock Creek Park. The resulting report, completed in 1918, became the seminal planning document for the planning and expansion of Rock Creek Park. Its first sentence boldly declared the credo that "The dominant consideration, never to be subordinated to any other purpose in dealing with Rock Creek Park, is the permanent preservation of its wonderful natural beauty, and the making of that beauty accessible to people without spoiling the scenery in the process." The Olmsted Plan for Rock Creek Park was adopted in 1919 and has remained a vital management document ever since. Certain roads were designated for vehicular use. Klingle Road, although not a part of Rock Creek Park, has served DC historically as a public road that provides public vehicular access to this urban treasure, Rock Creek Park.

The road network was a popular addition to the park because it opened the valley to scenic carriage and automobile rides in most seasons, particularly south of Military Road. Opening the park to vehicular traffic provided increased public access on both sides of Rock Creek Park. The present road system continues to reflect their original purpose of providing public access to the enjoyment of extraordinary rural scenery. A comparison of a 1918 Olmsted Plan Map, a National Park Service annotated version of that base map prepared in 1941 indicating road conditions in the park, and a modern topography map prepared in 1989, illustrated that the alignment and width of the roads has not changed significantly since 1941. Similarly a comparison of a 1933 map of Rock Creek's facilities reveals that the reservation has retained a high degree of its historic integrity. Although adapted to the automobile, the designed alignment, width and the environmental surroundings of these scenic roads has not substantially changed since the 1920's. According to the 1985 Rock Creek management plan, the road system is 18.79 miles long and the standard width of roadway is 20 feet. A major non-historic addition to the trail system of the park was the paving of bicycle routes in the 1960s and 1970s.

In addition, the roads serve as connectors to some of Washington's architecture on both sides of Rock Creek Park. For example, the Tiger Bridge can be seen from the Piney Branch Parkway, which is walking distance to Klingle Road and a connector for Mount Pleasant and the adjacent neighborhoods of Crestwood and Rock Creek East. The Bridge appears as a solid arch. This Sixteenth Street Bridge was built in two stages between 1907 and 1910 and was the first parabolic arch bridge built in the United States. The topside of the bridge on Sixteenth Street incorporates simple neoclassical balusters and dramatic tigers, sculptured by noted animalier Alexander P. Proctor, which flank each end of the bridge and lend the bridge its popular name, "Tiger Bridge."

For these and many other reasons, the establishment of Rock Creek Park proved to be vital to the future development of the national capital. The fight to establish the park united a body of civic-minded businessmen dedicated to the city's economic improvement and residential desirability. The effort to preserve the historic function of Klingle Road and access to Rock Creek Park is uniting a similar fervor and probably for the same reasons. That same attitude of the businessmen who fought for Rock Creek Park and for public access will be needed today to ensure that the historic functions that the roads have served will continue to benefit future generations. Hopefully, 100 years from today, the roads and trails of Rock Creek Park will continue to form a historically significant circulation system that contribute a distinctive layered historic character to the park.

Klingle Road remains listed as an arterial roadway for vehicular traffic on the District of Columbia's Functional Classification Map and is a part of DC's permanent system of highways. Klingle Road remains a right-of-way on the federal-aid system and has not been officially or administratively closed. It is imperative that DC preserve the historic function of Klingle Road and maintain the public access that the planners intended with regard to Rock Creek Park, as well as the function that the road serves as a connector for DC residents.

For additional information, please email support@repairklingleroad.org