Franklin Square is back! Now rechristened Franklin Park, this long-neglected green space managed by the National Park Service, underwent a $20 million renovation paid for by the city.
And the result is wonderful. The five acres were regraded to make it accessible for all. There are new fountains, and the trees have been diversified by age and species. A new café on K street will open in Spring.
This square was on L’Enfant’s original 1791 city plan, but it was not singled out for any particular purpose. It was the site of several natural springs, some of which provided water to the White House which is not far away.
During the civil war troops camped here. But it wasn’t until 1935 that a New Deal program provided funds to install a fountain and pathways. And it’s remained essentially the same until now.
Why it’s named Franklin Square is unknown. It’s assumed to be named after Benjamin Franklin, but there’s no statute of him here. There is, however, a statue of Commodore John Berry, who’s known as the father of the American navy.
The square is between 13th and 14th and I and K Streets, NW. So, if you’re in the area make sure you stop by and take a break as this is going to be the city’s new summer hot spot!