Glen Echo

National Park

What is Glen Echo Park?

Glen Echo Park is located in the Potomac Palisades. It is near the town of Bethesda, Maryland. It was originally an amusement park, but it is now a National Park. The park now has an ecological class for kids, and many other classes including painting, ceramics, and photography. At the park there are many restored amusement rides such as a carousel, a ballroom, an arcade, a theater, and a “Puppet Playhouse.” Glen Echo Park was renovated to a grand National Park from 2003 to 2009, restored to its former beauty.


Glen Echo Park was made in 1891. It was part of the National Chautauqua. This group was started from the Chautauqua Movement, a movement designed to teach Sunday School to children. Glen Echo was one of many assemblies started at that time. The park was also famous because Clara Barton lived in her home there. In the early 1900’s, the park became an amusement park. It closed in 1968. But, in 1971, it was restored into a national park. It now remains a beloved attraction to families, and is managed by the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, Inc.

Importance to Community

Glen Echo’s various theme rides and activities provide a fun, enjoyable environment for families. The founders of Glen Echo Park worked to make it a historic national park, reminding people of its original job as the headquarters of the National Chautauqua Assembly.

Allowing African Americans Into the Park

For a long time, Glen Echo Park was segregated. As African Americans did not agree with this, in the summer of 1960, Negro students began protests outside of the park. Pressured by the protesting, Glen Echo became an integrated community. But the "protesting" did not end so easily. On Easter of 1966, the park closed many rides because of riots and vandalism at the park. African Americans saw the temporary closing of the park as a disruption of their freedom. The violence was too much for the park management, and Glen Echo closed in 1968.