Our Group History
The Virginia Avenue Dog Park partners group was founded by a group of DC community dog lovers in the Winter of 2018 when the Virginia Ave Park was preparing to re-open after having been closed for more than 3 years. The shutdown was due to CSX Railways construction that tore apart apart the park land to renovate the train lines that run under Washington, D.C. What came out on the other side of the construction project was a DC's best and largest dog park, rebuilt in one of the most historic, vibrant, and growing neighborhoods in The District.
This is the Virginia Ave Dog Park in the final stages of the construction during 2018.
The Park History
The Virginia Avenue Park is sandwiched between the crossroads of a lot of American history. In the Southeast quadrant of Washington, DC, once called "Pipetown" it was described by Greater Greater Washington historically as:
East of 11th Street SE to the Anacostia River, this neighborhood was made famous by Pipetown Sandy (1905), John Philip Sousa’s semi-autobiographical young adult novel about the neighborhood where he grew up. One Post article described Pipetown as “a community of extensive commons, of ash dumps, of tumble-down houses and shacks of nondescript architecture, a place where goats browsed among the tomato cans and the travelling fair pitched its weather-beaten tent.”
The neighborhood has evolved over the past 200 years and is home to a wide range of residential, business, and government properties. The VADP is on the dividing line between the historic neighborhoods of Capitol Hill and Navy Yard, just north of the Washington Navy Yard military campus, the National Museum of the United States Navy, and south of the Marine Barracks and the Marine Commandant's house. It's a block away from the Barracks Row dining and entertainment district, and a couple blocks from the Anacostia Riverfront.
Before the rebuilding:
The dog park was a single fence and sparsely maintained plot of land surrounded by construction sites and highways with patchy overgrown grass.
After the rebuilding:
After the rebuilding:
VADP emerged as DC's largest public dog park with 12,542 square feet of space with modern features including:
Separate fenced large- and small-dog areas
Multiple human and canine-friendly water fountains
Several benches within the park and lamps
Official signage and rules posted
Half a dozen trees in the park, and more planted around to help provide future shade, sound, and wind protection
Multiple dog poop bag dispensers
A bike trail along with sidewalks surrounding the park
Stoplights with crosswalks and pedestrian-friendly signs
Multiple waste bins
Free public street parking
Advanced environmentally-friendly drainage with a native-plant retention area, and soil systems to cut down on bacteria
Unearthed Historical Treasures
During the 2015 construction and park rebuilding, large swaths of intact British blue scoria bricks from the 1800s was found buried in the Virginia Avenue Park land. This valuable and historic stone pathway is now commemorated with a historical marker on the West side of the park where you can read more about the artifacts, as well as view a restored square patch of the blue scoria bricks.
The Scottie Statue
A new community-funded feature, added in May 2023, The Scottie Statue was created to honor a local preschool teacher who worked on The Hill and had a fodness for Fala, FDR's bronze Scottie at his memorial on the Tidal Basin.
Learn more about the sculpture, the artist, and its history here