2 More NPS Sites

Glen Echo Travel Blog

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from the porch

Once again, not on my original list but the Clara Barton Parkway had a red Passport stamp, so here's the entry!

I got the directions for the Clara Barton site from the NPS website and they worked beautifully.  I was a little worried since they had a number of roads and turns at the end, but once I got off the main route (495) there were the brown park signs helping me find my way.

I parked in a small lot just below the house and discovered about a dozen painters from a Glen Echo class surrounding the building.  I felt a bit weird walking through them to get to the front porch; I didn't want to disturb their work!  It was a neat class though with a mix of genders and ages.

My tour met on the front porch and ended up just being me.

main hallway
  The tour guide started with a short discussion of the area and how Clara Barton came to live there.  Basically, the builders of the nearby Chatauqua invited her to come because they figured her residency would give them greater publicity.  As part of the deal, they offered to build her whatever type of house she wanted.  Clara decided she needed a place that would be a home, headquarters for the new American Red Cross, and a warehouse for their supplies.  Their shelters after the Johnstown floods provided inspiration for the house.

Three stories tall, the building's central hallway relies on light from high windows.  The unique feature of the hallway are the closets hiding behind the paneled walls.  On the ground floor are the receiving sitting room, the original offices of the Red Cross, a dining room, and the NPS bookstore.

  The second floor has a guest bedroom, a volunteer bedroom, and Clara Barton's bedroom (where she died in 1912).  Her sitting room is currently in an unremodeled state but they hope to change that status in the future.  Two narrow stairwells provide access to the top level with two storerooms and the bedroom of Barton's nephew who at one time served as the vice president of the American Red Cross.  I really liked the rooms up on this floor.  The storerooms had stained glass windows in their doors.  The bedroom had the bottom of a flagpole supported in its ceiling, little stairwells up and down from it, and little doors for increased privacy.

Throughout the tour, I just kept being impressed by the functionality of the home.

  Clara Barton and her organization were able to send relief to disasters around the US and even the world from this base.  The rooms could switch from bedrooms for volunteers to storage areas.  The main hall could be a work room or dining hall.

After the tour I browsed the small bookshop which had a nice selection of items despite its small size.  Outside I paused to take some photos of the beatiful orange flowers in the garden.

My next stop was Glen Echo Park across the parking lot but hidden by a wooded area.  A bridge led over a ravine and from my first glimpse of the bubbling creek below, I was entranced by this modern chatauqua.  This term "chatauqua" was a new one for me--even though I have stayed at one before--but I soon developed an understanding of it: a place for intellectual, artistic growth.

playing with the camera and mirrors
  Although the opera house was eventually replaced by roller coasters and carnival rides, the park has come full circle; today the Art Deco style buildings offer a variety of fine arts courses in pottery, painting, sculpture, photography, dance, and more.  Informational signs describe the older appearances of the park which I found fascinating.  With summer programs running, many kids were on site.  I saw some young artists finishing up their lunches and Irish dancers cleaning up their moves.  Yurts--circular structures from Asia--added to the creative feeling rippling through the air.

A carousel on site beckoned; I paid the low fee and found a steed.  I chose a horse although rabbits and ostriches momentarily tempted.  After my ride, I wandered up to the original entrance area for a few shots before returning to the wooden bridge.  Peeking down at the streambed once again, I smiled; a dozen or so children--with a few watchful adults--had followed some route down to the cool water.

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from the porch
from the porch
main hallway
main hallway
playing with the camera and mirrors
playing with the camera and mirrors
entrance sign
entrance sign
Red Cross flag over the front
Red Cross flag over the front
front porch
front porch
another shot of the flag
another shot of the flag
easel from an art class painting t…
easel from an art class painting …
example of stove used to heat the …
example of stove used to heat the…
receiving sitting room
receiving sitting room
in the front sitting room
in the front sitting room
doors to original Red Cross offices
doors to original Red Cross offices
the carousel
the carousel
tower of the Spanish ballroom
tower of the Spanish ballroom
glasswork
glasswork
timeline by the NPS site
timeline by the NPS site
bumper car (actually from NJ)
bumper car (actually from NJ)
tiger
tiger
deer of some sort
deer of some sort
see the lion?
see the lion?
ostrich
ostrich
pipe organ
pipe organ
painted above me
painted above me
restored horse
restored horse
see the detail?
see the detail?
rabbits
rabbits
original entrance tower
original entrance tower
trolley
trolley
from the 1930s, Crystal Pool has …
from the 1930's, Crystal Pool has…
Glen Echo
photo by: diisha392