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News: The GCA Opposes Haupt Garden Demolition before National Capital Planning Commission


January 16, 2018

In testimony on January 4, The Garden Club of America continued its opposition to plans by the Smithsonian Institution to destroy the Enid A. Haupt Garden in the heart of the nation’s capital. At a public hearing, the commissioners heard from staff as well as Smithsonian employees and concerned members of the public on the proposed plans to redevelop the area around the Smithsonian Institution Building, known as The Castle.

Noting the GCA’s long, sincere support for the Smithsonian, GCA President Anne Neal Petri called on the commission to go slow. “Those of us who care deeply about the iconic and beloved Haupt Garden,” said Petri, “want reassurance from the Smithsonian that the garden will be preserved and that donor Enid A. Haupt’s clear intent will be followed.”

Petri noted documents disclosed in a Freedom of Information Act request outlining a long courtship between then-Secretary S. Dillon Ripley and Mrs. Haupt, as the Smithsonian sought a $3-million endowment for, in Secretary Ripley’s words, “a garden for the ages.”

“Given clear donor intent, the Smithsonian should be expected to play by the rules and fulfill Mrs. Haupt’s expectations,” asserted Petri.

Commissioners questioned the Smithsonian’s plans to destroy the garden and raised concern about the garden’s historical and cultural significance, as well as donor intent.

Read the GCA’s full testimony

Watch the hearing

The Washington Post quotes the GCA in hearing coverage  


Photo: Eric Long, Smithsonian

North-facing view of the Enid A. Haupt Garden and south facade of the Smithsonian Institution Building ("The Castle") in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 6, 2007.


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