Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Monday: Part Deux

Restored Carousel buildingAfter the Cathedral, we went to Glen Echo Park for lunch and recess. Glen Echo has a rich history: "Glen Echo Park began in 1891 as a National

Chautauqua Assembly, which taught the sciences, arts, languages, and literature. By the early 1900s Glen Echo Park had become a premier amusement park that served the Washington area until 1968." Unfortunately the park closed in 1968, when I was 16, because of the after-effects of the 1966 race riots in DC.Art Deco midway. Cotton candy? Popcorn? Guess your weight?
I took my first (and last) roller-coaster ride there, on a small pink one built for children. It scared me so much, I never thought twice about riding the huge wooden one that snaked through the park. A wooden roller-coaster - that dates me! Glen Echo is now a national park and is home to many artist studios and offers a year-round schedule of art & craft classes, as well as the Adventure Theater. Although it is no longer the amusement park my parents took me too, it is still a place where I can take my children (and grandchildren), making it a continuous part of our family story. The renovated Spanish Ballroom is available for wedding receptions, but only seasonally, as it is unheated - a disappointment to my bride-to-be daughter

One of 40 horses"One of the Washington areas local treasures, the historic Glen Echo Park Dentzel carousel is the Parks crowning jewel. Installed at Glen Echo Park in 1921, the canopy and the carved figures were made by the Dentzel Carousel Company of Germantown, Pennsylvania. It is a classic example of hand woodcarving popular during the early 1900s. You can still ride the carousel today. In 2003 the 20-year restoration project to restore the Carousel to its original 1921 beauty was completed." Ride the Rabbit"There are forty horses, along with four rabbits and four ostriches. Riders also have the choice of a giraffe, a deer, a lion and a tiger. And there two circus chariots that people can ride in. One-thousand lights shine from the carousel. It looks very inviting, and not just to children. The restoration exposed decorations long-hidden under layers of paint and some elements were repainted to match their original colors." The carousel was closed for the season, but I was able to take beautiful photographs through the windows. The park is an interesting contrast of restoration and decay, which provides an artist with lots of eye-candy.

A memory stirs each time I enter the park, crossing this stream that feeds into the Potomac River. At one point, a portion of the parking lot was built over the stream. One year, after weeks of rain, the far corner of the parking lot (full of cars) crumbled and tumbled down the side of the hill.

The unrestored House of Mirrors now houses offices. As a child, I spent many evenings in there, nervously winding my way though the maze, hoping I would find my way out. Would it be crystal clear to me if navigated by my now-wise eyes? Last night I discovered how hard on my eyes the day had been - taking in so much, filling them to the brim with color, design, inspiration. Everything at the Cathedral was new to me and I could barely drink it all in. Everything at Glen Echo was full of memory but yet, filled my eyes with wonder. Always a beginner...
Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it. ~ Roald Dahl
Be aware of wonder, live a balanced life, learn some and think some and draw and paint and sew and sing and dance and play and work every day some. ~ Robert Fulghum

Scroll over the photos to learn more.
Stream at park entrance races towards Potomac River
Window into a child's world - the childrens' studio
Things grow more beautiful with ageSee how the twins age?


Allison said...

Really interesting, Leslie.

I can't remember how I found your blog, but I am glad I did...!

Melissa P Hackmann said...

I love these photos of the peeling paint, they are scrumtious!!!! The Houston pictures look amazing too, more mixed media than imagineable.

Happy Birthday tomorrow and many congratulations on the upcoming wedding. ;)

MA said...

Dear Lala,

What's the story on the Crystal Pool building? I couldn't get any info to come up when I scrolled over. It is a gorgeous, mysterious building.

And, I LOVE the cathedral. Had the great good fortune to be confirmed there 25 years ago.

Deanna said...

Thanks for the memories. We used to pass Glen Echo when we went to visit my Aunt and Uncle and I can remember seeing the park and begging my parents to take me there. Eventually they did. Loved the roller coaster.