John Marshall Place Park
Pennsylvania Avenue at 4th Street, NW
Dear Ms. Mendelson-Ielmini:
In its meeting of 18 January, the Commission reviewed the concept design for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of John Marshall Place Park and gave its qualified approval with several comments and recommendations. The Commission members expressed their appreciation for the original tripartite park design and their support for the proposal to refurbish the area in accordance with the same principles. The members commented on the high quality of the statue of Marshall by William Wetmore Story and urged that its placement be carefully considered. They supported the concept of a three-sided Constitution pylon and recommended that an artist be engaged to design it.
The Commission members expressed strong opposition to the extensive proposed display panels, observing that the pedagogical intention to educate in a public park, while well-intentioned, results in an inappropriate barrage of information in a civic landscape. Rather than creating an outdoor museum, the Commission recommended that the large glass walls be eliminated, the amount of information greatly reduced, and the safety and comfort of the park's users be given stronger consideration. They suggested that a more detailed exhibit on Marshall's life and jurisprudence could be located elsewhere, such as in a museum setting or through a link to a website.
As always, the staff is available to assist you as needed for your subsequent submissions.
/s/Thomas Luebke, AIA
Lisa A. Mendelson-Ielmini
Acting Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242
cc: John Parsons, National Park Service
Carol Johnson, Carol R. Johnson Associates, Inc.