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Battery Kemble Park

Battery Kemble Park

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Battery Kemble Park is a park in Northwest Washington D.C., administered by the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

.

Battery Kemble was a Union Army
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 defensive site during the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. The battery
Artillery battery
In military organizations, an artillery battery is a unit of guns, mortars, rockets or missiles so grouped in order to facilitate better battlefield communication and command and control, as well as to provide dispersion for its constituent gunnery crews and their systems...

 was located on Ridge Road (now Nebraska Avenue, NW), and included two 100-pound Parrott rifle
Parrott rifle
The Parrott rifle was a type of muzzle loading rifled artillery weapon used extensively in the American Civil War.-Parrott Rifle:The gun was invented by Robert Parker Parrott, a West Point graduate. He resigned from the service in 1836 and became the superintendent of the West Point Foundry in Cold...

s, placed in such a way as to sweep Chain Bridge, Aqueduct Bridge, and Virginia beyond. Today, the parapet and gun positions are fairly well preserved and remain visible. The park is located south of Nebraska Avenue along Maddox Branch
Maddox Branch
Maddox Branch is a tributary stream of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., USA. The historic headwaters of the stream originate in the Tenleytown area in Northwest Washington...

. Battery Kemble Park is bounded by Chain Bridge Road (to the west), MacArthur Boulevard (to the south), 49th Street (to the east), and Nebraska Avenue, NW (north). It is considered part of the Palisades neighborhood
The Palisades, Washington, D.C.
The Palisades is a neighborhood in Washington, D.C., along the Potomac River, running roughly from the edge of the Georgetown University campus to the D.C.-Maryland boundary...

. The park is popular for running, sledding, nature walks, and is known to locals in the tri-state area (and the NPS itself) as a de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

 dog park
Dog park
A dog park is a facility set aside for dogs to exercise and play off-leash in a controlled environment under the supervision of their owners...

. Newspaper articles date the park's use as a dog recreation area to as early as 1978. In 2009, one patron accidentally discovered an artifact near the park's main walking trail that attests to – and predates – written media accounts of Battery Kemble as a 'dog park': a stamped District of Columbia dog license tag from 1966.

Civil War Defenses of Washington, or 'Fort Circle'


Battery Kemble was completed during the Autumn of 1861, as part of the Civil War Defenses of Washington, also known as the Fort Circle. It was named after Gouverneur Kemble
Gouverneur Kemble
Gouverneur Kemble was a two-term United States Congressman, diplomat and industrialist. He helped found the West Point Foundry, a major producer of artillery during the American Civil War....

 of Cold Spring
Cold Spring, New York
Cold Spring is a village located in the Town of Philipstown in Putnam County, New York. The population was 1,983 at the 2000 census. It borders the smaller village of Nelsonville...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, former superintendent of West Point Foundry
West Point Foundry
The West Point Foundry was an early ironworks in Cold Spring, New York that operated from 1817 to 1911. Set up to remedy deficiencies in national armaments production after the War of 1812, it became most famous for its production of Parrott rifles and other munitions during the Civil War, although...

, where most of the heavy Army and Navy guns were made during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. Battery Kemble is on the high point of land, 387 feet (118 m) above mean low level of the Potomac, where its guns could protect both Chain Bridge and Aqueduct Bridge. The artillery had "an extreme range of 3 miles, while it is under the direct fire, to a distance of at least 1,000 yards of the works." The earthwork remains of the battery are distinct and well preserved.

Battery Kemble was one in a chain of fortifications directly protecting the DC side of the Chain Bridge. Other nearby fortifications included Battery Cameron
Battery Cameron
Battery Cameron was a Union Army defensive site during the Civil War. Battery Cameron was one in a chain of fortifications in the Civil War Defenses of Washington, D.C., also known as the "Fort Circle". The battery was located atop a hill on Foxhall Road at what is now the intersection of Foxhall...

 (two 100-pounder Parrott rifles), Battery Parrott (two 100-pounder Parrott rifles), Battery Martin Scott (one 8-inch Seacoast howitzer, two 32-pounder cannon; later changed to two 6-pounder cannon and two 12-pounder howitzers), and Battery Vermont (three 32-pounder seacoast cannon). Battery Kemble was built to provide support to Fort Stevens
Fort Stevens (Washington, D.C.)
Fort Stevens was part of the extensive fortifications built around Washington, D.C., during the American Civil War. It was constructed in 1861 as "Fort Massachusetts" and later enlarged by the Union Army and renamed "Fort Stevens" after Brig. Gen...

 and Fort Slocum and to guard northern approaches to the city.

Wartime garrisons were manned by the 2nd U.S. Artillery, 9th New York Heavy Artillery, and Company A, 1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery.

In 1861, an Army report described the initial conditions there:
The soldiers' quarters at Battery Kemble (and Battery Cameron) remained unfinished, and in need of materials for completion, as late as 1864. Contemporaneous accounts by Augusta Weaver, "a woman of means" living nearby, describe how soldiers stationed at Battery Kemble pillaged neighboring residents' pantries, her own included.

The property on which Battery Kemble was constructed was relinquished to the U.S. government by William A.T. Maddox. Maddox, age 47, along with his 28-year old wife Sarah E., owned the land on which the Union Army
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 built Battery Kemble and part of the land on which Fort Gaines was erected. In 1860, he valued his real estate at $20,000. Luckily for him, Maddox had his profession to tide him over; he was a career U.S. Marine Corps officer who in 1860 held the rank of captain and, at the beginning of 1863, was stationed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 serving as an assistant quartermaster.

The land for Battery Kemble Park was reacquired by the federal government sometime between 1916 and 1923, a period of time during which much of the land for the D.C.-area Fort Parks was acquired. The National Capital Parks and Planning Commission acquired approximately 2.8 acres (11,331.2 m²) for the "Fort Kemble" Park. However, it was almost fifteen years before the government corrected the name to "Battery Kemble".

The Fort Parks and Fort Drive


Battery Kemble had a prominent place in 50s-60s-era plans for Fort Drive, a plan originally conceived in the first decades of the twentieth century to connect D.C.'s civil war defenses with a ring-shaped parkway ("not just widened streets"). The National Park Service and the District of Columbia signed a memorandum of agreement, on October 24, 1944, for the development of two Fort Drive sections, the first of which was from MacArthur Boulevard to Nebraska Avenue. National Park Service Associate Director A.E. Demaray informed the Secretary of the Interior that 98 percent of the Fort Drive right-of-way had been acquired and that its construction "is believed to be of first importance."

On October 1, 1964, the National Capital Planning Commission staff and other professionals took a bus tour to help decide whether it should "be developed as a park-like road, can it lend itself to be an intermediate loop, or should the forts remain isolated for just recreational use?" By May 1965, the local newspapers extolled a new proposal by Fred Tuemmler as a substitute for the Fort Drive. Tuemmler, whom the National Capital Planning Commission hired to re-evaluate Fort Drive, suggested the right-of-way land should "be reconstituted as a recreational facility" and, to emphasize that park recreation concept, rename it "Fort Park System." It would be "a place to get away from cars." Further, he saw it as a 30 miles (48.3 km) "ring of recreation and green space" around the city, running from Fort Greble Park to Battery Kemble Park, with hiking and bicycle paths.

Administration



Battery Kemble's current superintendent is Cindy Cox
Cindy Cox
Cindy Cox is an American composer and performer, and Professor of Music.She holds a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Texas Christian University, and her Masters and Doctorate in 1992 from Indiana University in composition, where she studied with Harvey Sollberger, Donald Erb, Eugene...

, who succeeded Adrienne Coleman as Superintendent of Rock Creek Park
Rock Creek Park
Rock Creek Park is a large urban natural area with public park facilities that bisects Washington, D.C. The park is administered by the National Park Service.-Rock Creek Park:The main section of the park contains , or , along the Rock Creek Valley...

, as of January 1, 2010.

It is policed by the United States Park Police
United States Park Police
The United States Park Police is one of the oldest uniformed federal law enforcement agencies in the United States. It functions as a full service law enforcement agency with responsibilities and jurisdiction in those National Park Service areas primarily located in the Washington, D.C., San...

 (District 3), Metropolitan Police Department
Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia
The Metropolitan Police Department, also known as the DC Police, DCPD, MPD, and MPDC is the municipal police force in Washington, D.C...

, and occasionally U.S. Secret Service.

Former Superintendents include Joseph Brown
Joseph Brown
Joseph Brown may refer to:*Joseph Brown , artist, wood carver*Joseph Brown , actor and theater professor known as Victor Millan*Joseph Brown , Australian artist and collector...

(5/24/1965 - 5/6/1967), J. A. Martinek (5/7/1967 - 5/29/1971), and Joseph Antosca (9/5/1971 - 4/27/1972).

Art & Music


The earthworks slope at Battery Kemble was depicted in a 1989 landscape painting by David Holt entitled, "Hillside in Battery Kemball [sic] Park, Washington, D.C."
In 1991, Gunnar Plake created "Battery Kemble", a striking C-type photographic print on aluminum.
A view looking southwest, across the driveway, and towards a grove of bamboo, inspired the 2006 Carlton Fletcher painting "Battery Kemble (676)".
Howard Carr, a painter who lives nearby, cites Battery Kemball as the inspiration for most of his works.

Natural Environment & Geology


The park has abundant pine trees, and is home to many species of birds. There is also a dense grove of bamboo.
The stream that runs through Battery Bemble Park is called Maddox Branch
Maddox Branch
Maddox Branch is a tributary stream of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., USA. The historic headwaters of the stream originate in the Tenleytown area in Northwest Washington...

. It originates in Tenleytown, and is a tributary that flows into the Potomac River
Potomac River
The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, located along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. The river is approximately long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles...

.