A black and white photograph showing Sheridan Circle in 1945 from Peoples Archive DCPL

A Grand Avenue Revival: Restoring Massachusetts Avenue’s Historic Landscape

Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - 7:00pm
Led by 
Deborah Shapley

In 2006, historian and activist Deborah Shapley, along with a group of her Sheridan-Kalorama Historic District neighbors, founded Restore Mass Ave, a non-profit dedicated to restoring the landscape of D.C.’s Massachusetts Avenue to its historic character, that of a Grand Avenue public space designed to showcase the civic virtues of a metropolis and its citizenry.  Hear why

    Restore Mass Ave believes this streetscape is worth saving and reviving for the 21st century Washingtonians and learn

    - How Massachusetts Avenue figured in Peter Charles L’Enfant’s grand design for the new capital 1791;

    - How its layout and plantings created a “Grand Avenue” to define the city and its ideals;

    - Why Linden (Tilia) trees are a fascinating species and why they were chosen to line D.C.’s Grand Avenue;

    - How architect George Oakley Totten and other Beaux Arts-style designers incorporated their clients’ showy homes into the Grand Avenue’s vistas of trees;

    - Where road reconstruction is underway that exemplifies the tradeoffs between a green canopy and gray infrastructure in today’s Washington, D.C.


Presented by Deborah Shapley, Founder and President of Restore Mass Ave.  The group has arranged planting of more than 450 new trees and care for 1000, and helped the many stakeholders with improving greenspace.

Each virtual experience participant will be able to order a free copy of A Grand Avenue Revival: Massachusetts Avenue Landscape History & Design GuideThe booklet was supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and local groups and won the DC Preservation League Award for Excellence in Education in 2015.


Host by Carolyn Crouch, Founder, Washington Walks


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