Rain, Stone, and Mud

December 30, 2018

The record-breaking rainfall of 2018 may have lowered water bills and minimized use of irrigation, but all that water took its toll on our landscape nonetheless. Increased runoff has affected the Olmsted Woods and at times overwhelmed the water-control measures we installed some years ago. We are addressing this with engineers and architects. 

The All Hallows Amphitheater, completed in 2008, also is under pressure from rains and runoff. The floor of the stage, or altar, pre-existed the building of the Amphitheater. The stone paving was not set in concrete, and although ten years ago, at the time of construction, it was deemed sound, it has deteriorated in the interim. Loose stones, missing stone dust, gaps and uneven surfaces have rendered the floor hazardous at best, and woe betide the bride in heels or young thespians in the throes of a Shakespearean soliloquy.

In addition, the steep hillside path descending into the Amphitheater at its southwest edge is a favorite shortcut from St. Albans across the Amphitheater to the other side of the Close. Like water, young feet seek the path of least resistance. No known ground cover can withstand the repeated trampling, with the result that the slope is either dry and caked dirt or rutted mud.


All Hallows Guild is addressing these areas – both because they require amendment and because the Amphitheater has our name on it. We built it and we must repair it. We expect to have the stone floor re-set in concrete to blend with the stonework in the Amphitheater steps, and are investigating measures such as porous paving for the eroded slope. Look at these “before” photographs of the damaged areas and keep watching for “after” pictures as we undertake the work.


All Hallows Guild was founded in 1916 to provide for the care and beautification of the grounds of Washington National Cathedral. The Guild works closely with the horticultural staff to preserve this historic landscape and raises funds for renovation and renewal of the gardens.


  • (202) 537-2937
  • ahg@allhallowsguild.org
  • 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW
    Washington, DC 20016


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