Make a Donation to Support Tregaron

The 1912 Causeway Bridge at Tregaron (photo by Valerie Brown from the Book "Capital Splendor" written by Barbara Glickman)

The 1912 Causeway Bridge at Tregaron (photo by Valerie Brown from the Book “Capital Splendor” written by Barbara Glickman)

We rely on every dollar given for our ongoing operations and in order to keep the doors open without charge.  Your support will help make the restoration of a very significant historic landscape a reality.  The Tregaron Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization; all contributions are tax-deductible.

If you would like to make a gift online with a credit card or PayPal, please use the form below. If you prefer make a gift by check, please send a check made out to Tregaron Conservancy and mail to:
Tregaron Conservancy
P. O. Box 11351
Washington, DC 20008

Tregaron Donation Form


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We will be pleased to provide information to enable gifts of securities or other property, to set up a planned giving opportunity, or to wire or otherwise transfer assets directly, to either or both of the Tregaron Conservancy’s accounts.  To be careful stewards, we have the Tregaron Conservancy Endowment Fund (to help us preserve the property in perpetuity) and the Tregaron Conservancy General Operating Account (to support our ongoing landscape projects and maintenance of the property).  To permit us to furnish receipts acknowledging your tax deductible donations, we ask that when giving you simultaneously advise us at the email address below of the nature and approximate value or amount of your gift.  We will also need your old-fashioned mailing address to do this right.

If you have any questions, please contact us at

Why the need for restoration? What are the current conditions?

After more than 50 years of neglect, the Tregaron Conservancy took possession of a severely deteriorated, yet still very important historic landscape.  As many historic landscape and cultural architects testified, Tregaron’s remaining landscape had high integrity, but it had suffered terribly.  As a neighborhood, community, city and national treasure, Tregaron Estate required and demanded a major restoration.

A detailed Cultural Landscape Report of Tregaron Estate was completed by Patricia O’Donnell of Heritage Landscapes in 2005. This landscape report carefully followed the original Tregaron plans of Charles Adams Platt and Ellen Biddle Shipman. Using this report as guidance, the Tregaron Conservancy has been striving to return Tregaron to its original glory days, all while making it open, safe and accessible to the public with no charge.  This work takes time and considerable amounts of money.  In a detailed budget, the Cultural Landscape Report quoted the rehabilitation costs to run over $5.9 million dollars — that was in 2005!  The Conservancy has already raised and spent $1.5 million and it has so much more work to do.  The Tregaron Cultural Landscape Report found that the “landscape of Tregaron is in variable condition today with many areas showing degradation. The built elements of the stone bridge, the Causeway, its drive and its masonry walls, as well as the hundreds of stone steps throughout the property are deteriorating.” The former paths “show the highest level of degradation throughout the landscape. In terms of vegetation, much of the canopy is open from large tree losses. Volunteer and exotic aggressive invasive species are present throughout.” (CLR, p. III.1)

The "lily" pond before rehabilitation -- 2005

The “lily” pond before rehabilitation — 2005

The underside of the Causeway bridge with stream running through a fractured terracotta pipe February 7, 2007

The underside of the Causeway bridge with stream running through a fractured terracotta pipe February 7, 2007

The paths around the lily pond were obscured beneath vegetation and woodland litter.  The pond itself was filled with decades of dirt and debris.  It was unrecognizable as a “lily pond.”  The stream channel to the pond was obscured and degraded by siltation. From the pond, the sludged-in stream goes under the Causeway bridge into a fractured terracotta pipe.  After this, the Tregaron stream has escaped its channel and piping below the path adds to the runoff, degrading the Klingle Valley. The original lush plantings in the Pond Valley and around the Causeway were only in remnant form.

Invasive species have encroached upon Tregaron's north meadow

Invasive species have encroached upon Tregaron’s north meadow

Along the drive and meadows, there are non-functioning gutters due to fractures, displacement, erosion and overgrowth. Fast-growing, smothering invasive vines have taken over the meadows edges. The biotic release and changing mowing practices have reduced the size of the meadow completely.

Once a lovely meadow, this area has been taken over by vines & other invasives.

Once a lovely meadow, this area has been taken over by vines & other invasives.

The northeast woodland, stream and trails have missing path systems, broken stone work, rogue or bootleg trail of compacted earth and a silted stream channel.  Invasive species cover the ground and aggressive woody plant invasive species, such as bamboo, are growing along the stream corridor.

There are remnants of the original fence — rusted and jutting about, some sections have landed in the Macomb Stream, clogging it further.  Along open Klingle Road, there is an ugly chain link fence that makes the grounds look more like a correctional institution than a lovely historic landmark.  The Conservancy has plans to replace the old and ugly fencing with lovely, sturdy iron fencing that is a close replicate to the original 1915 fencing.  We cannot afford to replace all the fence surrounding the entire property, just the worst sections.  Meanwhile, we are working with the DC Government, including the DC Department of Transportation, on the Klingle Stream and making it flow under the portion of closed Klingle Road, thereby solving water issues.


What are the plans for rehabilitation?

Twin Oak with "Dead Tree" sign -- February 2007

Twin Oak with “Dead Tree” sign — 2007

Our initial goal was to clean up the site – remove fallen and dead trees, take out the invasive plants and vines.  From 2005 to 2008, the Tregaron Conservancy hired The Care of Trees (TCOT) to do the heavy work — to remove dozens of large fallen trees, take out invasive smaller trees (such as Norway Maples) and clear the land of the poison ivy.  TCOT also performed other major excavation work as we uncovered more original stone bridges and stairs, dating back to 1912-1915.  Once the initial larger objects were removed, we invited the neighborhood to help with community clean-up days.  Those have been very successful.  The Conservancy has held a number of community service days; neighbors and friends from across the city (and beyond) have turned out to help clean up the property.  We have engaged landscape architect and landscape designers who have been involved in the restoration plans and have overseen the rehabilitation of Tregaron’s historic landscape.  Initially, we tackled the restoration of the extensive bridle path and pedestrian trails throughout the Estate.  The Conservancy discovered a stone staircase and marble patio that were moved (from where WIS was building a soccer field) and relocated the steps and patio above the lily pond (with guidance from Shipman plans and working with an archeologist from DC’s Historic Planning Office).  Along this “overlook,” the Conservancy has planted a number of flowers and bushes.  Over 100 trees have been planted in the Klingle stream valley, around the lily pond and throughout the old and dilapidated forest.  The Conservancy is reviving the woodland.  The path system is circulating with handsome trail markers and boundary head signs.  These paths are regularly mulched and maintained.  The Macomb Street entrance was redone with a new pedestrian path and gate added, along with handsome plantings.  At both the lily pond area and the Macomb Street entrance, irrigation systems were installed.  With all of these improvements comes the need for more maintenance.  The Conservancy has retained One Yard at a Time Landscaping to regularly maintain Tregaron’s expansive grounds.  Annual maintenance costs have risen to $60,000 and expected to grow to $75,000 per year soon.

The Conservancy expects to restore the landmark in specific phases – beginning with the historic bridle trails and pathways. By removing dead trees and invasive species, the Conservancy opened up the pedestrian routes, enabling circulation of the meadows and woodlands. The cost for this clean-up was well over $150,000. Repairing and improving the paths, steps, stonework, bridges and drainage gutters cost over $250,000.  The Conservancy was so fortunate to have the fabulous architect and wonderful neighbor Dickson Carroll design a replicate arched stone foot bridge over the outflow of the lily pond — all pro bono!  Planting woodland deciduous canopy and under story trees and plants in accordance with the historic plans of Ellen Biddle Shipman has been expensive, but we have been fortunate to receive grants from Casey Trees.  Thus far, we have only planted trees in one area of Tregaron — around the lily pond.  We still have at least 10 more acres to cover. Accordingly, the hard costs of Phase One has been over $560,000.

The second phase of rehabilitation that the Conservancy has taken on is the restoration of the Pond Valley. Once a beautiful lily pond fed by an underground water source, the pond was silted in and filled with sludge. The costs of removing the invasive species as well as the repairing the pond basins, edges and addressing the drainage system were sizable – over $200,000 before soft costs.  A few years ago, we restored the lily pond for the price of over $100,000.  We have rehabilitated the stone steps to the marble overlook and we have had a replicate stone bridge built over the pond’s outfall.  In addition, we have added hundreds of trees, bushes and flowers.  With this, we needed to install an irrigation system to keep our investment alive and thriving.  But the irrigation system only covers a small portion of Tregaron’s landscape.  There is still so much to restore.  With all of our work comes expensive maintenance fees.

It will be wonderful to have folks get reacquainted with the beautiful woodlands and green meadows of Tregaron Estate.  Walking Tregaron’s bridle paths with glimpses of the historic mansion and the Cathedral is a marvelous experience that is being shared and enjoyed by the greater public.  The possibilities are endless, but getting there is costly.

Read the Cultural Landscape Report

Note that each Part is a pdf download; some files are quite large
Part 1 – Cultural Landscape Report
Part 2 – Cultural Landscape Report

The Cultural Landscape Reports’ Landscape Plans and Photo Sheets:
Part 1 — Platt-Shipman Sketch Plans
Part 2 — Platt-Shipman era vintage photographs with location notations
Part 3 — 1948 aerial photographs with landscape units
Part 4 — Davies Era vintage photographs
Part 5 — 1980 WIS-TLP aerial photographs, 2000 aerial photographs, 2005 aerial photographs
Part 6 — 2005 photographs with location notations
Part 7 — 2005 drawings of existing conditions and features, 2007 Project Areas Plan
Part 8 — Vegetation Management Plan, Illustrations
Part 9 — Illustrations

How much will this cost?

As can be seen from the budget, the cost of rehabilitating the property is quite expensive (over three million dollars with additional maintenance fees), but it has been phased over several years.

In addition, the Ongoing Maintenance Funding will be considerable. An endowed maintenance fund of over two million dollars is the Conservancy’s goal. Preservation planners, historical experts and landscape architects are predicting that once the costly initial work is done, it may take upwards of $100,000 a year to keep up and maintain the Conservancy’s work annually.

As a result, the Conservancy must raise a great deal of money. Thanks to community support, we are off to a good start. The Conservancy received pledges for over $150,000 in the year 2006 and pledges of over $500,000 over the next six years. In order to meet our financial needs, the Conservancy needs additional major donors.

What’s the hurry? Why now?

With trees dying and falling, invasive species choking the remaining landscape, stone bridges collapsing, stream systems clogged and backed up, mosquito-infested standing water and vines taking over the meadows and woodlands, Tregaron Estate must be saved now.  The deterioration must be stopped and the site stabilized before we lose any more of its historic integrity.  We have a detailed plan that we need to carry out in order to rescue this once beautiful and important landscape.

Is my contribution tax deductible?

All of the money collected will be used solely for the purpose of preserving, restoring and maintaining the historic landscape of Tregaron Estate.  As required by the Internal Revenue Code, “the benefits to be derived from the organization’s activities flow principally to the general public through the maintenance and improvement of public recreational facilities.”  The Tregaron Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and has had tax exempt status by the IRS since 2007.  (Prior to 2007, donations were made to the Friends of Tregaron, the predecessor 501(c)(3) organization.)  All contributions to the Tregaron Conservancy are tax-deductible and deeply appreciated.

Tregaron Conservancy Supporters

For years, several non-profit organizations such as the Cleveland Park Historical Society, the Friends of Tregaron Foundation, the Cleveland Park Citizens Association, the Woodley Park Citizens Association, the Washington International School, as well as the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, have all supported the preservation of the historically significant Tregaron Estate through restoration and continued preservation.  In 2005, the DC Preservation League placed Tregaron Estate on its “Most Endangered Places” list – noting the need to “draw attention to Washington, DC’s, historically, culturally and architecturally significant places that may be threatened with ill-advised alteration or demolition through neglect or abandonment.”  Specifically, the DC Preservation League stated that Tregaron’s “landscape has been allowed to deteriorate and Shipman’s design is barely recognizable.  Development has threatened the green space of the estate a number of times.”

Over the past few years, various foundations have awarded money to the Friends of Tregaron, supporting the group’s efforts to preserve Tregaron Estate.  The Sprenger/Lang Foundation (DC), Margaret Reed Foundation (Idaho), Marsha Brady Tucker Foundation (Maryland), CJM Foundation (New York), Cleveland Park Historical Society (Washington, DC), Witherspoon Trust (Texas), Evenor Armington Trust (Ohio), TECRO (DC), Norcross Foundation (New York), and New York Community Trust have made generous donations to help protect Tregaron Estate, its historic landscape and its natural surrounding environment.  The Conservancy has been fortunate to receiving matching gifts from:  Avon, Bank of America, GE, Morgan Stanley and Prudential.

Tregaron Conservancy's Cultural Landscape Report

Tregaron Conservancy’s Cultural Landscape Report

A draft Cultural Landscape Report was finalized through the gracious support of the Dorothea de Schweinitz Preservation Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  In addition, Tregaron Conservancy was awarded a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to design a new garden entry to the Washington International School and the Conservancy property on Macomb Street.  This design was based on a plans prepared by Ellen Biddle Shipman for the area.

Another generous supporter of the Conservancy is Casey Trees, Casey Trees has generously contributed over 100 trees to begin the replanting of our historic gardens.  Hundreds of volunteers from all over the District have come to help us plant these trees on several wonderful community tree planting events.

How can I help preserve Tregaron Estate?

As the property steward of the landmark, the Tregaron Conservancy is responsible for the landscape’s restoration and maintenance.  This is a huge project that will need the support and involvement of many, many people.  Sign Up for the Tregaron Conservancy email list (the form is at the Home and Connect pages) to receive news of our progress, receive updates about community clean-up dates and other events at Tregaron.  You can also help by contributing money to support the Conservancy’s important work.

What is the future of historic Tregaron Estate?

The most exciting part of this landmark agreement is that Tregaron Estate is open to the public — every day, all day, free of charge!

With beautiful stone bridges and two flowing streams meandering through the woodland, Tregaron is a lovely place to hike, walk, picnic and enjoy nature.  There is a lily pond (that had been silted in) that in 2007 we returned to its original beauty from a century ago.  Benches have been added in certain locations allowing for rest and reflection.  Dog walkers and children already love Tregaron’s open green grassy, rolling meadows.  The Tregaron Conservancy has held cultural and educational programs – lectures, concerts, guided walks, architectural tours, nature activities and student projects – all open to the public and at no charge.  As can be seen, the possibilities at Tregaron are endless.

But there are so many, many areas that the Conservancy has not even touched in its restoration efforts.  Walking through Tregaron’s historic landscape, one will be thrilled by its beauty in some parts and dismayed by what still needs to be rehabilitated.  The meadows have been overtaken by invasive species and the Conservancy has not able to address these areas — yet.  The streams are not flowing correctly and must be unclogged.  Gutters are broken and need to be repaired.  The Causeway bridge needs a complete rehaul.  Drainage and erosion are constant engineering challenges.  English ivy grows on hillsides and tries to take over the trees.  Bamboo flourishes in some parts and is more stubborn than the Conservancy board members.  The woodland needs to be replenished and the gardens need to be restored.  All of this will take planning, designs, installation, irrigation and maintenance.  We are nowhere close to recreating Ellen Biddle Shipman’s landscape plans from 1915 and beyond, but we are trying mightily.  We will definitely need your help to accomplish this awesome task!

The Tregaron Conservancy is organized solely for the purpose of restoring a very special, historically significant property, the Tregaron Estate.  This important landmark is recognized on both a city and national level.  The land will be held in perpetuity by the Tregaron Conservancy and open to the general public.