Franklin Park 2012-03-27

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    Franklin Park in Washington, D.C.

    Also known as Franklin Square, it is named after Benjamin Franklin. It is bounded by K Street Northwest, 13th Street NW, I Street NW, and 14th Street NW.

    It is one of the original "reservations" (or public parks) in the city. Seven natural springs in the park were the reason for its original name, "Fountain Springs Square." These springs were tapped to provide the first fresh drinking and cooking water for the White Houe.

    Charles Townes says he conceived the theory behind the laser/maser while sitting on a bench in the square.

    Adjacaent to the square is the Franklin School, designed by Adolf Cluss and built in 1869. Alexander Graham Bell made the first wireless transmission from this building in 1880 when he transmitted his voice via light-beam.

    The building most recently served as a homeless shelter. That shelter opened in 2002 and closed in 2008. The park still attracts very large numbers of homeless and mentally ill people, and is ill-maintained -- making it largely unuseable by most people.

    Food trucks ring the park during the work week.

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