More than 15 trees felled in Glen Echo Park due to severe weather on July 29. Credit: Photo courtesy of Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture

After an intense July 29 storm took down over 15 large trees and damaged historic structures, the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture created a $50,000 fundraising campaign to aid for repairs for Glen Echo Park and income loss for staff.

The Park lost power for three days and park personnel were forced to close the entire grounds and cancel all scheduled events, camps and activities for about a week, a press release said.

The storm, which created 84 mph winds, caused more than 54,000 Pepco customers in Montgomery County to lose power while several buildings and homes sustained severe damage. In the storm’s aftermath, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation removed more than 160 fallen trees in cleanup efforts, “We haven’t seen storm impacts like this in more than five years,” Pepco’s director of communications Ben Armstrong told MoCo360.

The Partnership’s new “Lift Us Up” campaign, has raised about $22,072 as of Aug. 19. Money that is raised will be used to cover losses in income for park staff and repairs to historic structures in the park such as the historic Dentzel Carousel – which staff had to clear water from – the Spanish Ballroom and the Bumper Car Pavilion, according to the release.

“While the numerous arts and cultural programs in the park remain strong and the beloved Dentzel carousel is in operation again – despite several [carousel] animals that sustained damage being off limits to riders – the public’s help in recouping losses is essential,” said Ama Mills-Robertson, chief program officer for the partnership, in the release.

The partnership is a non-profit organization that oversees park activities, operations and preservation of the site’s historic features.


According to the press release, partnership staff spent almost a week clearing debris and assessing the storm’s impact on the park’s yurts, parking lot, playground, walkways and other buildings.

In the release, staff reported the three-day power outage caused a malfunction to the fire sprinkler system inside of the Dentzel Carousel and caused water damage to the nearly century-old Wurlitzer band organ.

As a result of the severe damage and clean-up efforts across the park, the partnership moved to cancel summer camps, classes, exhibitions, a summer concert, theater performances, dances and paused carousel operations. According to the release, the cancellations caused “significant loss of income.”


Glen Echo Park reopened on the evening of Aug. 4. According to the release, repairs and remediation to the park are ongoing and likely to continue into 2024.

Glen Echo Park – located along the Potomac River in the Glen Echo community – is more than a greenery-filled grounds with a playground and picnic tables, it is also an arts and cultural center that organizes festivals, exhibitions, dances, children’s theater, music and nature programs and art classes, the release states.

The park also has a rich history dating back to 1891, when it was first developed as a National Chautauqua Assembly to teach sciences, arts, languages and literature, according to the Glen Echo Park website. By the early 1900s the site turned into the Glen Echo Amusement Park, which served the Washington, D.C., region until 1968, the website states. Additionally, the park’s 102-year-old carousel has a history of its own. According to the park’s website, the carousel was first installed in 1921 and is one of the only 135 functioning antique carousels in the country and the only remaining ride from the amusement park era.


“Being a treasured community resource, the closure affected the community at large – from camp families to art instructors, to music lovers excited for the weekly summer concert. The Partnership alone incurred significant costs to remove trees, clean up debris, and repair structures,” the press release said.

Donations can be sent through the “Lift Us Up” campaign website, or will also be accepted in person at the park’s last free summer concert of the season at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 24 and at the partnership’s Labor Day weekend events, which include the Labor Day Art Show and the Social Dance Showcase.