Pershing Park
Pershing Park is a memorial park dedicated to General John J. Pershing
John J. Pershing
John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, GCB , was a general officer in the United States Army who led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I...

 located at 14th Street
14th Street Northwest and Southwest (Washington, D.C.)
Fourteenth Street is a street in Northwest and Southwest Washington, D.C., located 1¼ mi. west of the U.S. Capitol. It runs from the 14th Street Bridge north to Eastern Avenue....

 and Pennsylvania Avenue
Pennsylvania Avenue
Pennsylvania Avenue is a street in Washington, D.C. that joins the White House and the United States Capitol. Called "America's Main Street", it is the location of official parades and processions, as well as protest marches...

 NW in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...


The area was an undeveloped tract of land covered with weeds and litter from the inception of the District of Columbia in 1792 until April 1957, when District officials proposed renaming the plot Pershing Square. Legislation officially designating the plot as a Pershing Square subsequently was adopted by Congress later that year. How to develop the square proved controversial, however, as different groups offered competing proposals for memorials to John J. Pershing, who had served as General of the Armies
General of the Armies
General of the Armies of the United States, or more commonly referred to as General of the Armies, is the highest possible officer rank of the United States Army.Only two soldiers have been granted the rank of General of the Armies; John J...

 in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. These disagreements led to inaction, and by 1962 the square remained bare and often cluttered with trash. In September 1963, District of Columbia officials finally planted grass and flower beds to temporarily beautify the square.

In November 1963, the President's Council on Pennsylvania Avenue proposed a master plan for the redevelopment of Pennsylvania Avenue NW from the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 to the United States Capitol
United States Capitol
The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall...

. The master plan proposed constructing a National Plaza (also called the Western Plaza) which would have required the demolition of the Pershing Square, the Willard Hotel
Willard InterContinental Washington
The Willard InterContinental Washington is an historic luxury Beaux-Arts hotel located at 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. Among its facilities are numerous luxurious guest rooms, several restaurants, the famed Round Robin Bar, the Peacock Alley series of luxury shops, and voluminous...

 north of the square, and the two blocks of buildings and street east of these tracts. The American Legion
American Legion
The American Legion is a mutual-aid organization of veterans of the United States armed forces chartered by the United States Congress. It was founded to benefit those veterans who served during a wartime period as defined by Congress...

, among others, kept pushing for a grand statue of Pershing for the square, but all plans for the park were suspended until such time as the Pennsylvania Avenue master plan could be finalized.

National Plaza was never constructed. Instead, a much smaller Freedom Plaza
Freedom Plaza
Freedom Plaza, originally known as Western Plaza, is an open plaza in Northwest Washington, D.C., United States, located at the corner of 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, adjacent to Pershing Park. Constructed in 1980, the plaza is mostly composed of stone, inlaid with a depiction of parts...

 was built which did not require the demolition of Pershing Park (as the square was now known). Designs for a statue and memorial to Pershing and design of the park were finalized in the 1970s, and Pershing Park constructed simultaneously with Freedom Plaza from 1979 to 1981. During this period, the park was slightly enlarged due to the realignment of Pennsylvania Avenue NW along the area's north side. Pershing Park formally opened to the public at 11:45 AM on May 14, 1981.

Pershing Park contains a statue of General Pershing by Robert White
Robert White (sculptor)
Robert Winthrop White was a highly-respected American sculptor and educator who lived for much of his life in St. James, Long Island, New York...

, as well as memorial walls and benches behind him describing his achievements in World War I. The park also contains a fountain, a pond (which turns into an ice rink
Ice rink
An ice rink is a frozen body of water and/or hardened chemicals where people can skate or play winter sports. Besides recreational ice skating, some of its uses include ice hockey, figure skating and curling as well as exhibitions, contests and ice shows...

 in the winter), and flower beds. The ice rink is managed by a concessionaire of 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...

. Pershing Park is owned by the government of the District of Columbia, but is administered by the National Park Service since it is included in the Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site
Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site
Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site is a National Historic Site in the city of Washington, D.C. Established on September 30, 1965, the site is roughly bounded by Constitution Avenue, 15th Street NW, F Street NW, and 3rd Street NW...

More than 400 demonstrators were arrested in Pershing Park in September 2002 during anti-globalization protests against the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 and International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...


External links

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