Historic St. Elizabeths campus to open to public

Andrew Mollenbeck, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – St. Elizabeths Hospital East Campus is showing off what has largely been off limits to the public for almost a century.

On Saturday, the historic campus in Ward 8 will open for family fun, including mural making, face painting, music and local art displays.

“People will see when they get onto the campus that it really is a pretty remarkable site,” says Ethan Warsh, a project manager at D.C.’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.

St. Elizabeths Hospital was originally a federally-run facility to care for those with mental health issues. It dates back to the 1850s.

But the master plan for this 183-acre east campus is to shape it into a cultural hub, with retail options, smaller stores and coffee shops – a community gathering spot in Ward 8.

“What we envision with that master plan is really a mixed use, very vibrant community adjacent to the Metro, leveraging the strong economy that we have in this region to bring a huge amount of new economic activity to that side of the River and into Ward 8,” Warsh says.

The campus has already been holding farmers’ markets for the past few weekends, and those will continue through October.

Saturday is the first of several larger events during the summer, aimed at getting the community to the campus.

“We want to bring folks onto the campus to really see what the opportunity is, to see how much of an asset it is,” Warsh says.

The events Saturday are open to the public from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

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