"I had no idea what this was," says Stronghold resident Kirby Vining as he walks through barren underground caverns. Below an open field two miles north of Capitol Hill is an abandoned natural purification facility, named the McMillan Sand Filtration Site. When it was built in the early 20th century by the Army Corps of Engineers, it was described as a "public health milestone." For almost 30 years now, the historic landmark has been abandoned after being deemed "too labor intensive to clean."
There have been numerous proposals for redeveloping the 25-acre site, including a jail, a hotel or resort, and a K-Mart strip mall. PBS Digital Studios recently featured the site as "one of Washington, D.C.'s most conspicuous mysteries," describing its history, while touring the site with its towering silos and grassy plains. While Vining says, "The possibilities down here are exciting," many residents would beg to differ to the point of even getting nasty. Residents even formed an advocacy group, called Friends of MicMillan Park, that is involved in preventing any developments on the land. Regardless, the D.C. Zoning Commission approved the first phase of a development plan for the McMillan site this past September. The concept designs for the development include a park, community center, housing and office space, healthcare facility, pool, and amphitheater. The site is located in Northwest D.C., specifically in a plot of land north of Michigan Avenue, east of North Capitol Street, south of Channing Street, and west of First Street.
· The Mysterious, Abandoned Silos of Washington, DC [Vimeo]
· Creepy Ruins in the Heart of DC: The McMillan Sand Filtration Site [InTheCapital]
· Twitter Heats Up, Gets Nasty During McMillan Zoning Hearing [Curbed DC]
· New Plans for McMillan Sand Filtration Site Move Forward [Curbed DC]
· Envision McMillan Animation [Vimeo]
· Envision McMillan [Official Site]