Mapping Georgetown: This Passion Project Has Many Humble Heroes


With Labor Day on our minds, the Mapping Georgetown project wishes to thank all those who work so hard every day — often behind the scenes — to make our community so cherished.

Today I share with you a contribution so delightful it’s what makes this such a passion project. Here’s an example of the time and talent devoted to our city by the most nonchalant of humble heroes, Sophia McCrocklin, Artist-in-Residence at Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy.

“My favorite place in Georgetown is Dumbarton Oaks Park [at R St. NW]. It is a hidden oasis in the middle of the city where I go to leave the fast pace of life behind. Several years ago, it came to my attention, as a volunteer in that Park, that a map of this special place could be of use to others. After collaboration through Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy, I created a map to help people navigate the Park. It has been one of my greatest joys to spend time with friends there. It is an honor to help others to do the same,” she wrote on her Mapping Georgetown card.

In addition to her enchanting map of Dumbarton Oaks Park, McCrocklin shares her naturally-inspired artwork with the community. On her website (https://www.sophiamccrocklin.com/about/bio/), you can see her beautiful series of 19 mixed-media fiber sculptures, “Ferns of Dumbarton,” the “culmination of five years of work studying common and rare ferns found in the forests of Dumbarton Oaks Park.”

The Dumbarton Oaks Park grounds were designed by Beatrix Farrand, at the request of Mildred Barnes Bliss and are recognized as rivaling any gardens anywhere in the world, including in France, as evidenced by this article by Grace Coddington and photographer Annie Leibovitz in the August 2021 issue of Vogue magazine.

https://www.vogue.com/article/how-a-pioneering-garden-designer-inspired-vogues-fall-fashion-fantasy

Over the years, many have discovered the hidden delights of Dumbarton Oaks Park and have found solace in its environs. The Hillary and Bill Clinton’s own a home adjacent to Dumbarton Oaks Park and have been spotted enjoying the grounds. Bunny and Paul Mellon owned a home next door. So much did the Mellons love collecting art, they bought a house next door just to house their collections.

Jackie and John F. Kennedy passionately promoted art and culture during their White House years (1961-1963) as well. Jackie even accomplished the Herculean task of bringing Leonardo Da Vinci’s “La Giogonda” — The Mona Lisa — to the National Gallery of Art.

President Kennedy also included great American poet Robert Frost in his 1961 inauguration. Frost’s “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” comes to mind when thinking of the delights of Dumbarton Oaks: “These woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.”

We can only imagine the many, many souls who have enjoyed this sacred space at Dumbarton Oaks. If only these woods could talk? Perhaps they do… Listen….

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This Mapping Georgetown story can be found at Mapping Georgetown:  https://mappinggeorgetown.com/2019/05/17/artist-in-residence-dumbarton-oaks-park-conservancy-sophia-mccrocklin-thank-you/

We invite you to add your story to our Mapping Georgetown collection. Blank templates can be printed from the home page of www.mappinggeorgetown.com, picked up from The Georgetown Public Library or by contacting mappinggeorgetown@gmail.com.

To learn more about the Mapping Georgetown project see https://georgetowner.com/articles/2021/07/19/marilyn-butlers-vision-for-mapping-georgetown/. Marilyn Butler can be reached at marilyn.butler@gmail.com.

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