The DC Office of Motion Picture and Television Development is pleased to honor the US National Arboretum in Northeast as the June 2012 One City Location of the Month. The National Arboretum, one of the largest arboretums in the country, is 446 acres of gardens and magnificent landscaping located in the heart of Washington, DC. It is well known for its historic, one-of-a-kind structures; exotic gardens and collections; enchanting old-wood forests; rare and beautiful trees, shrubs, and flowers.
The Arboretum is located approximately two miles northeast of the Capitol building and is bordered on the east by the banks of the Anacostia River. It has entrances on New York Avenue and R Street, Northeast and has nine miles of roadways that wind through and connect the numerous gardens and collections on the campus. It was established in 1927 by an act of Congress after a campaign by USDA Chief Botanist Frederick Vernon Coville. It is currently operated by the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service as a division of the Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center.
The Arboretum boasts a sylvan backdrop, which has been accomplished by retaining most of the natural woods, including beeches, oaks and Virginia pines that stood on the grounds when the land was purchased, limiting the amount of roadways. The exhibition areas are located either along the roadways or on pebbled paths off the roadside.
The National Capitol Columns is one of the most popular sites to photograph and film at the Arboretum. When the US Capitol building was expanded in the 1950s, 22 34-foot tall sandstone Corinthian columns were removed. After years of negotiations to determine where the columns would go, they were taken out of storage and English landscape architect Russell Page designed a setting for them on a knoll near the main entrance of the Arboretum. It has been used as a backdrop for live and taped interviews, marketing campaigns for everything from cars to airline service to weather reports, and has even been transformed into a foreign market for a movie. The Chinese Pagoda in the Asian Collections and the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum are also popular sites to use for filming.
The Arboretum functions as a major center of botanical research. It conducts wide-ranging basic and developmental research on trees, shrubs, turf, and floral plants. Its mission is to breed plants for localities throughout the entire country, and has the responsibility to collect and preserve genetically-diverse plants from a variety of sources. The first and most popular exhibit, the azaleas, was the product of pioneering research of the first director. The Arboretum also has a permanent reference collection of more than 650,000 dried plant specimens necessary for studies relating to agriculture, medicine, science, and education.
In 2011, the DC Film Office launched its One City Location of the Month to bring attention to the wide range of varied, cinematically compelling locations that are available to film and television productions. Former One City Location of the Month recipients include, The Yards Park in Southeast, the Brookland neighborhood in Northeast, the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Northwest, and the Maine Ave Fish Market in Southwest.
To learn more about the National Arboretum and to view photos please visit the One City Location of the Month feature on our web site. If you are interested in using the National Arboretum for a future filming location, please contact us at [email protected].