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  • 1003. MP: Pergola

    The Greek-cross shaped structure you see here is the pergola, one of the structures added to the park in 1914. With its brick columns, bluestone bases, rustic cypress beams, and wooden latticework, the pergola marks the site of the former gardener’s house.

    Pergola admist newly planted boxwoods, 1915

    You might notice that the boxwood gardens on its north and south sides are quite large. The original design of the garden incorporated a maze for visitors, but the impressive maturity of the boxwoods, some more than six feet tall, prevents the maze from being accessible now for more than a short distance.

    First known design of Montrose Park, 1914

    Turn left and walk south along the Rope Walk back toward the entrance. As you walk along the Rope Walk, you will notice several unique features. Lining each side of the Rope Walk are Newport-style gas lights, named for Newport, Rhode Island where the design originated. These are the only remaining public gas lights in the City of Washington, retained after the city switched to electric lights in 1939.

    Also notice the row of Osage orange trees on your left along the eastern side of the Rope Walk. Believed to have been planted in the 1850s by the Boyce family, these trees were a popular specimen for fencing during this time due to their thorny branches. The Boyce family, who named the estate Montrose, were neighbors of the Tudor Place estate located just west of the property, down R Street. The Boyce’s daughter married the son of Tudor Place’s Thomas Peter and Martha Parke Custis Peter, Martha Washington’s granddaughter.

    Look to your right to the open field just past the tennis courts. This had been the site of the croquet court.

    Ropewalk Tennis Courts, unknown date
    Ropewalk Croquet Courts, unknown date

    To continue, turn right at the path intersection to the Entrance Ellipse.  Hit the NEXT button below when you arrive.