In 1861 the Fort Barnard Fortifications were constructed as part of the Civil War defenses of Washington in Green Valley. The fort was named for General J.G. Barnard, the chief engineer for the defenses of Washington. The fort had significant earth works and gun platforms which featured twelve 24-32 pounder guns. During the war the fort was occupied by the 3rd Artillery Battery of the New York and the 14th of Massachusetts.

In 1902 the site was preserved as a park and community playground.


In 1913 the Navy erected three huge radio towers at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Courthouse Road, between the two African American communities of Johnson's Hill and Butler-Holmes. These radio towers, called the “three sisters,” were marvels of modern communications technology and engineering in their time. They were the tallest man-made structures in the world upon their completion in 1913, towering over local pillar the Washington Monument. In 1915 they transmitted the first trans-Atlantic voice communication to the Eiffel Tower.

The towers were removed in 1941 because they obstructed flight-paths for the newly constructed Washington National Airport.

Collection: Neighborhoods