The Ellipse

The Ellipse, an expansive lawn south of the White House grounds, was once used to corral horses and cattle. It was also used as a Union Army military camp during the Civil War. Envisioned by Andrew Downing as a formal parade ground, the area became one of the country’s first baseball parks, sometimes hosting thousands of spectators. Depending on the time of year, you might find a college graduation, a football game, or a public demonstration. Every December, during the Pageant of Peace, the President lights the National Christmas Tree as citizens come together to celebrate the season.   

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