CFA 20/FEB/20-4


numerous locations
Washington, DC
United States

National Park Service
Rock Creek Park and associated sites
Wayfinding, interpretive, and identification signage guidelines
Review Type
Previous Review


Dear Ms. Mendelson-Ielmini:

In its meeting of 20 February, the Commission of Fine Arts, based on its prior review of the submission materials, approved the proposed final signage guidelines for Rock Creek Park and the other smaller parks in the Rock Creek Park administrative unit, including several within the Old Georgetown historic district. In its approval, the Commission adopted the report of the Old Georgetown Board (enclosed).

The Commission appreciates the responsiveness to the comments made during its previous review and to the recommendations of the Old Georgetown Board, and anticipates the successful deployment of this new sign system. If there are any changes to the proposal, please consult with the staff to determine if additional review is required.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Lisa Mendelson-Ielmini, Acting Director
Region 1–National Capital Area
National Park Service
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242

cc: Wayne Hunt, Hunt Design

Encl.: Report of the Old Georgetown Board, 20 February 2020


National Park Service

Rock Creek Park and associate sites
Wayfinding, interpretive, and identification signage guidelines
(Reviewed: Concept: Oct 18 – OGB; Nov 18 – CFA / Permit: Feb 20 – OGB)


The National Park Service (NPS) proposes a comprehensive sign plan for Rock Creek Park, which includes several sites in the Georgetown historic district, including: Francis Scott Key Memorial Park, Georgetown Waterfront Part, Old Stone House, Montrose Park, and Thompson Boat Center. The Old Georgetown Board reviewed the permit application and recommended approval on the Consent Calendar at its meeting of 6 February 2020, with the condition that the applicant submit construction documents and site plans to Commission staff for final review.

Previously, the application was approved in concept by the Commission in November 2018, with the recommendation that the sign base be a simpler, neutral and consistent treatment rather than an attempt to imitate a particular site's existing design features (such as Meridian Hill Park's aggregate concrete site walls). The Commission had further commented that small sites, such as the reservation with the General McClellan statue, should not have signs; if vehicular-oriented signs are necessary, those will require very thoughtful placement on the site. The Commission also endorsed the Old Georgetown Board's request for full-size mock-ups at a representative sample of sites.

On 5 November 2019, the applicant presented mock-ups at the following sites: the Old Stone House, Georgetown Waterfront Park, Montrose Park, the Rock Creek Parkway directly across from Thompson Boat Center, and Meridian Hill Park. Representatives of the OGB and CFA staff as well as NCPC and the District Historic Preservation Office inspected the mock-ups; the consensus was that horizontal signs were better suited for the more open landscape of Georgetown Waterfront Park, and that signs placed on sidewalks around Meridian Hill Park were not effective. The group also commented that the metal elements of the post-and-arm sign proposed for Montrose Park could be thinner. Photographs of the mockups are attached.

The applicant's current proposal reflects design changes related to these comments and was therefore recommended for approval, with conditions.


No objection to the final design for new and replacement signage within Rock Creek Park, per submission received 16 January 2020, PROVIDED the applicant submit final construction documents and site plans to Commission staff for review prior to issuance of permit. Note: Any subsequent modifications to the approved design must be resubmitted to the Commission for approval.