She deserves to be honored.
Reservation 630 is a trail located in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park, bordered on each side by Tilden Street Northwest and Reno Road Northwest, Fox DC reports. The trail was renamed Reservation 630 about a year ago but prior to that, it was named for Melvin Hazen, a man known as an integral part of maintaining segregation in the District and working to keep Black people out of Northwest D.C.
“The individual the park had been named for was instrumental in removing an African-American community from what had been known as Reno city, which is now Fort Reno Park, ANC 3A01 commissioner Thaddeus Bradley-Lewis explained.
While the National Park Service (NPS) removed Hazen’s name from the park and trail, covering any markers promoting him with Brown pain, Bradley-Lewis says it’s not enough to just cover up the negative history, officials must now replace it with something positive moving forward.
“I think it’s important because especially here in our Ward, we have a long history of racial inequity, systemic racial inequity,” said Bradley-Lewis.
Now the commissioner and his colleagues are working to rename the trail in honor of Mrs. Georgia Ellard, a 93-year-old community elder who dedicated her life to working for the National Park Service.
Ellard got her start with NPS in 1955, starting as a clerk typist and working her way up through the ranks. Before her retirement, Ellard made history as the first woman and first Black person to serve as superintendent of Rock Creek Park, something she says she takes pride in.
“My time when I worked at the park service, my primary interest was to do the best job that I could,” said Ellard.
Now the community she served for so long wants to serve her, recently passing a resolution at their last meeting to rename the trail in her honor. Ellard says she is ecstatic and is grateful that her legacy will continue.
“I think it will be more important for my family to see it than me. My friends, I think they will be honored to know someone who they respect and someone they love has that kind of recognition,” Ellard said.
While there is no telling how long it could take to make the renaming official, Bradley-Lewis is committed to working diligently with NPS, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, the D.C. Council, and the city’s mayor to make it happen.
Thank you for your service Mrs. Ellard!
Cover photo: Local D.C. community working to rename trial after Rock Creek Park’s first Black superintendent/Photo Courtesy of Fox 5 DC