The southern part of President's Park is the Ellipse, a large open area surrounded by an oval drive.
Its development began in the 1850s but was cut short first by a lack of funds and then by the Civil War. The site has been used a trash dump, horse pens, and a slaughterhouse. Soldiers were housed here during the Civil War.
The Ellipse is used for many community gatherings and functions, including musical performances during the summer. Recreational activities are also held in this open area. Many demonstrations take place here, as people exercise their rights of free speech and assembly.
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