Located between Pennsylvania Avenue and C Street NW, this park is one element in the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation’s 1980s revitalization of the iconic street after years of neglect. Landscape architect Carol Johnson convinced her client to create a green, pedestrian-oriented park rather than the parking lot and driveway intended for the site.
The park is situated with a key vista to the Old City Hall, recognized in the L’Enfant plan and preserved by Johnson’s design. The site is divided into three terraces that absorb a twelve-foot grade change. The lowest terrace, at Pennsylvania Avenue, is paved with a pattern that relates to the L’Enfant plan on the diagonals and is planted with a bosquet of shade trees. The central terrace remains open to the view of Old City Hall, and is more lushly planted than the upper and lower levels. The upper terrace, also planted with a bosquet, has two fountains which reference the site’s historic condition as Washington’s first public water supply location.
The park is named for Chief Justice John Marshall, who lived in a boarding house adjacent to the site, where the Canadian Chancery is located today.