Geology of Cleveland Park Walking Tour

Leader: A full day of walking tours with Geologist Tony Fleming.

Date and Time: Saturday, October 13, 2012 from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm

Geologic Foundations of Cleveland Park: A Walking Tour from the Top Down

9:30 am – noon


Did you know that Wisconsin Avenue marks the ancient channel of the Potomac River? Or that many neighborhood structures are made from local building stone that was quarried where the Cleveland Park commercial district now stands? Why does this plant grow here but not there? Should I purchase earthquake insurance? Join us for a casual walking tour to learn how geology influenced the development of Cleveland Park and continues to affect everything from engineering and architecture to drainage and ecology.
The morning tour will start at the west front of the Cathedral and visit Olmsted Woods and the Beauvoir playground on the Close, for a view of the city’s topography from the eastern edge of the Wisconsin Avenue Ridge. It then moves on to Rosedale and the Cleveland Park Spring just below Macomb Playground. A stop at the Cleveland Park Congregational Church and John Eaton allows a look at the use of local stone in neighborhood buildings. A walk down Macomb Street leads into the Klingle Valley and a discussion of water-management issues in this urban ravine. The morning ends at Tregaron, where participants may stay for a…

Picnic Lunch at Tregaron

noon – 1:00 pm; BYO Lunch


—> See for directions to Tregaron. <—

Environmental Geology and Natural History of Tregaron: A Hands-On Tour

1:00 – 3:30 pm

Tregaron is a historic 20-acre estate located between Macomb Street and Klingle Road, west of Connecticut Avenue. The property adjoins the Klingle Creek unit of Rock Creek Park. Perhaps best known as the home of the Washington International School, Tregaron is an incredible neighborhood resource. With its deep ravines, old woods, and elegant landscape architecture, Tregaron is singularly responsible for much of the environmental ambiance that defines this section of Cleveland Park. In 2007, the Tregaron Conservancy ( assumed responsibility for preserving and maintaining the natural and historical attributes of the property, the culmination of decades of effort by hundreds of residents to prevent the property from being developed and protect it in perpetuity.

Tregaron is a veritable showcase of geologic and ecologic features and processes that include outcrops of some of Washington’s oldest rocks, unusually large crystals, an ancient channel of the Potomac River, architectural use of native building stone, a biologically diverse landscape, and many environmental issues related to the interface of water and infrastructure in the urban environment. Join the afternoon tour to explore the natural features of the property, learn why they are significant and how they can be maintained, and discuss their relationship to the larger urban environment.

This leisurely loop hike will showcase a wide variety of natural features, landscape architecture, and environmental issues, with time for questions and discussion. Did you know that the local bedrock was not originally part of North America? That giant crystals of hornblende and staurolite occur on the property? Can you tell the difference between native plants and invasive non-native ones? Why is Klingle Road so flood-prone? The tour will highlight all of these topics and more!

Earthquake Tour

3:30 – 5:00 pm


The “earthquake walk” at the end of the day will look at examples of ancient and modern faults and their effects in Washington, D.C. This will be a loop walk down Klingle Valley to Rock Creek and the Zoo, and back via Connecticut Avenue and Macomb Street. We will visit the classic “Darton’s Fault” exposure, a quintessential example of a young, active fault.

Co-sponsored by the Cleveland Park Historical Society and The Tregaron Conservancy

All portions of the tour are free and open to the public. No registration is required.

Feel free to come for any or all of the tour segments.


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