Stead Park

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Stead Park
Stead Park from 1616 P Street building.jpg
Stead Park, looking north
Stead Park is located in Central Washington, D.C.
Stead Park
Location within Washington, D.C.
Type Urban park
Location Washington, D.C.
Coordinates 38°54′36″N 77°02′15″W / 38.91°N 77.037611°W / 38.91; -77.037611Coordinates: 38°54′36″N 77°02′15″W / 38.91°N 77.037611°W / 38.91; -77.037611
Area 1.5 acres (0.61 ha)
Created 1953
Operated by D.C. Parks & Recreation
Status Open all year

Stead Park is a 1.5-acre (0.61 ha) municipal park located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Northwest Washington, D.C. Among its facilities are Stead Recreation Center, located at 1625 P Street NW; a lighted basketball court; an athletic field with a 60-foot (18 m) baseball diamond; and a playground.[1]

Public events such as Summer Movie Mania, an outdoor screening sponsored by the city's government, are held at the park.[2][3][4] Stead Park is also used as a practice field by the Washington Renegades RFC, the first rugby union club in the United States to recruit gay men and men of color.[5][6]

The park and its small staff are administered by the city's Department of Parks and Recreation. Stead Park, whose property was valued at $8,659,560 in 2009,[7] is partially funded by a private trust created by Washington architect Robert Stead (1846-1943). The park is named for Stead's wife, Mary Force Stead.[8]


Stead Park playground, after 2008 renovation

The portion of the park next to P Street once held 19th-century row houses. During a 2008 renovation, archaeological work uncovered artifacts and brick foundations from the houses that once occupied 1613 and 1625 P Street. Researchers concluded that the latter supported a house built in 1878 by Henry Hurt, a Confederate Army veteran and president of the Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company.[9]

When construction began on Stead Park in 1951, the single-story fuel sheds from the row houses at 1621, 1623, and 1625 still stood. These were consolidated and expanded and had a second story added to turn them into the park's recreation center. The unsegregated park was formally opened on November 13, 1953, at a cost of $80,000[10] ($731,741 today[11]).

In 2003, plans for a four-story, multimillion-dollar gay community center to be built on a small section of the aging park sparked a dispute among Dupont Circle residents and the Washington D.C. Center for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender People. The plans were ultimately abandoned.[12][13]

In 2008, the recreation center and playground were renovated. Work began in April and the park reopened on December 15.[14]


  1. ^ "Stead Recreation Center". Government of the District of Columbia. Archived from the original on June 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  2. ^ Buckwalter, Ian (2009-05-13). "Screens on Other Greens". Archived from the original on 2009-05-17. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  3. ^ Mathis, Sommer (2009-06-12). "Stead Park's Summer Movie Scheulde". Archived from the original on 2009-06-15. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  4. ^ "Summer Movie Mania". Washingtonian. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  5. ^ Worsdale, James (2009-02-27). "Sports". Washington Blade. Retrieved 2009-05-24. [dead link]
  6. ^ Krisberg, K. (2002-07-25). "Renegades Rugby". Metro Weekly. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  7. ^ "DC Citizen Atlas Real Property Reports". Government of the District of Columbia. Archived from the original on 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  8. ^ "About Us". Friends of Stead Park. Archived from the original on 2010-09-26. Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  9. ^ "Stead - New Entrance, Central Plaza, and Playgrounds". Government of the District of Columbia. 2008. Retrieved 2013-11-23. 
  10. ^ Williams, Paul Kelsey (September 2004). "Scenes from the Past..." (PDF). The InTowner. p. 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 25, 2006. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  11. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2018. 
  12. ^ Brune, Adrian (2004-07-23). "Neighbors unsure about gay center at Stead Park". Washington Blade. Archived from the original on July 25, 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  13. ^ Chibbaro Jr., Lou (2004-11-19). "D.C. gay community center to open in office building". Washington Blade. Archived from the original on November 20, 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  14. ^ "Mayor, D.C. Open Stead Park in Northwest". The Washington Post. 2008-12-15. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 

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