Meridian Hill Park (also known as Malcolm X Park) has a long history of varied uses. Originally it was home to a mansion set at the exact longitude of the original meridian marker of Washington DC. Among that home's occupants was none other than outgoing President John Quincy Adams. Later, it became a public park, an encampment for Union soldiers, and home to Columbian College (which was later moved and became George Washington University).
In 1910, Meridian Hill was bought by the government with the intent to create a new park. Plans were drawn up for the grounds to resemble Italian-style gardens with a dramatic thirteen basin cascading fountain. There are also statues scattered throughout the park, including one depicting Joan of Arc, the only female equestrian statue in all of the DC area. The park is free and open during daylight hours. There are 12 full acres to explore here. And at 3 pm on Sundays, there is a long-standing tradition of an ad-hoc drum circle, which has grown over the last 40 years to include jugglers, hoopers, yogis and tightrope walkers.
Cover photo by Joe Flood via Flickr