The Trust for the National Mall is spearheading the creation of a new U.S. Park Police Horse Stables and Education Center on the National Mall as part of the long-term plan to restore, enrich, and preserve “America’s Front Yard.” Located between the Martin Luther King, Jr. and Lincoln Memorials, this new destination will transform visitors’ experience, create an interactive education center with areas to observe horses, improve facilities used by the mounted patrols, and increase public safety and accessibility in the surrounding area.
The Trust for the National Mall is the leading non-profit, non-partisan philanthropic partner of the National Park Service dedicated to preserving, restoring and enriching the historic legacy of the National Mall. Each year, more than 36 million visitors are drawn to this park to learn about America’s history, admire cherry blossom trees, honor heroes, and participate in sports and civic events. Redevelopment of the horse stables was established as a top priority of the 2010 National Mall Plan to transform this iconic American park for greater enjoyment by all.
The new Horse Stables and Education Center replaces and improves the current facilities used by the U.S. Park Police’s Horse Mounted Patrol. The current stables were built as temporary structures during the 1976 Bicentennial celebrations and have remained largely untouched. These aging buildings will be replaced with modern structures, including:
• A total of 14 stalls, including a medical paddock, built to ensure proper air flow and space for the horses housed onsite;
• Covered shelters that will extend turn-out time during adverse weather conditions;
• Heated wash and tack room; and
• A permanent office building with a locker room and meeting space to be used by the U.S. Park Police assigned to this facility.
Historic problems created by the original temporary structures—such as improper drainage, food storage, and inefficient waste and water management systems—will be corrected with this new, modernized facility.
“These are truly ‘America’s equine heroes.’ We are honoring, supporting, and helping raise awareness of their service to the public with this new state-of-the-art horse stable and education center,” said Catherine Townsend, CEO of the Trust for the National Mall. “We are grateful to them and the many partners who are helping us realize this vision of a transformed National Mall that will be enjoyed by millions of visitors for generations to come.”
This project was celebrated at a groundbreaking ceremony on October 8 in Washington, D.C. attended by public and private supporters. Construction is being managed by the Trust for the National Mall and is expected to be completed in late 2021.
Sheila Johnson, of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, Vice Chair of the board of the Trust for the National Mall, and Chair of the Horse Stables Campaign added, “the horse mounted patrols are the ambassadors welcoming millions of visitors to the National Mall each year. I’m excited that we’re doing more than building a healthy home for the horses, we’re also transforming how the public can interact with them. With the new education and viewing areas, we’re promoting deeper appreciation and understanding of the incomparable bond between horses and officers as well as their public service.”
The new facility will stand on the existing footprint of the current horse stables facilities. The renovation will allow more efficient use of the site’s original footprint, transforming the visitor experience. New features will include:
• A welcoming education center with a self-guided tour, educational information on the horses, and a history of horse mounted patrol operations on the National Mall;
• Two public viewing paddocks with double fencing for visitors to safely observe horses;
• A new entrance and pedestrian path to enhance accessibility;
• A new rest stop area with a public restroom station and water fountains;
• Improved pedestrian pathways that safely connect the National Mall to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and Tidal Basin.
Redevelopment of the Horse Stables & Education Center was fully funded through private donations during a multi-year campaign spearheaded by the Trust for the National Mall. A total of $12.7 million has been committed by individuals, corporations, and foundations to cover design and construction costs of the new facility. In addition, the Trust established a maintenance fund for the new Horse Stables and Education Center that seeks to raise another $3 million toward future costs of maintaining the facility and supporting programming. Donations from the general public, non-profits, and corporations for the project will be directed toward this fund.
Over the last four years, the Trust for the National Mall worked closely with the National Park Service and U.S. Park Police to assess needs and determine a redevelopment plan. The renovation of the horse stables was prioritized as lead funding from private donations was secured and the design and approval process began. The Commission on Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission gave final approvals in the summer of 2020 and the next steps to begin construction are now underway. Architectural and landscape planning for the new Horse Stables and Education Center was led by OLIN Partners in collaboration with Tasos Kokoris AIA.