It's ungodly hot this weekend and the air-conditioner in my car is broken, so when Lydia and I drove past this oddity on the way back from mailing a tv at the post office in Adams Morgan (kind of a long story) I was half convinced it was a mirage. Why would there be 25 acres of undeveloped grassland with castle turrets in the middle of a high density neighborhood north of town?
It turns out McMillam Resevoir is the site of the former water filtration plant for the entire district. Built in 1905 and decommissioned in 1986, the prime real estate sits atop a vast network of catacombs that the Potomac River used to flow through. They can't develop the site because the arches that hold up the ground can't support the weight of new construction. That, plus the area was designated a historic site a few years back. So for now, things will stay the way they are.
The district grows on me as time goes by.