National Park Seminary Historic District
A route from Four Corners to National Park Seminary Historic District.
National Park Seminary (which is named for Rock Creek National Park) started out in 1887 as "Ye Forest Inne," a summer vacation retreat for Washington, D.C., residents. The retreat did not succeed financially, and the property was redeveloped as a finishing school, opening in 1894 with a class of 48 female students.
The campus was designed by architect Emily Elizabeth Holman of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.. The architecture is eclectic and whimsical. In addition to various Victorian styles, exotic designs included a Dutch windmill, a Swiss chalet, a Japanese pagoda, an Italian villa, and an English castle.
In 1942, the property was acquired by Walter Reed Army Hospital as a medical facility for disabled soldiers. However, in the 1970s, funding for the property was cut and the buildings fell into disrepair. Many of the buildings were vandalized and the Greek Revival Odeon Theater was lost to arson in 1993. In 2003, a development team began implementing a plan to preserve the campus as the core of a new residential neighborhood, but their efforts so far seem to have been focused more on making money from condominium residents rather than repairing the historic buildings.
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