This rectangular, 1.5-acre square was part of Pierre L’Enfant’s 1791 plan for the new Federal City. The Baroque plan featured a number of broad, radial avenues punctuated by fifteen ceremonial spaces called Reservations (including Farragut Square) overlaid on a gridded street pattern.
The square remained undeveloped throughout the first half of the nineteenth century. Following the Civil War, the site housed temporary wooden buildings associated with the Freedman’s Bureau, until 1868, when U.S. Army Corps engineer Nathaniel Michler recommended it be transformed into a public park. By 1872 the park had fencing, gravel walkways, shrubs and trees.
Farragut Square is composed of lawn and mature shade trees informally planted around its perimeter, with a pair of paved paths running from the northwest to southeast corners, and two intersecting smaller walks running from northeast to southwest and laterally from 17th Street. A central, oval-shaped space features a memorial statue of Admiral Farragut, dedicated in 1881. The monument is surrounded by iron fencing and two semi-circular flower beds with seasonal plantings.