An homage to the Fort Reno stage


Sarah Morgan

On March 7, the Fort Reno stage died after more than 50 years with the Tenleytown community. Born around 1968, it began with concerts to calm us after the U Street riots, and throughout the decades has been a fun place for families to gather in the summer. It’s been here with us through our middle and high school years, it’s watched over us as we crossed the cowpath; from kids watching their first concert to drawing their first piece of graffiti. the stage has been a comforting presence. 

A staple of the Tenleytown community for over 50 years, the stage was an integral part of any Wilson (or Alice Deal) student’s experience, because of how long it was there, or the variety of experiences and events that took place on its age-touched wooden floor. 

As such, it deserves a proper goodbye from The Beacon, as well as from the students that have accompanied it for so long. 

“The stage was grounding. It was a place that you kinda knew would always be there, whenever you went, and it was a spot where you could just be. It was oddly comforting to just be there, no matter what you were doing,” said freshman Myles Bell. His favorite memory was “after One Acts when it was foggy and my friends and I took pictures with a disposable camera.”

Sophomore Brenda Rivera shared her favorite stage experience. “I can’t remember if it was during homecoming or spring fling,” sophomore Brenda Rivera said, “but me and my best friend decided to dip and head to the Fort Reno stage… no one was there so we blasted music and danced for a bit and then we just laid there for a good while.”

Izzy Rosenberg, a junior, said, “There are a lot of nights I’ve ended on the stage, but my favorite memory would have to be my friend falling off of it after the One Acts, or some other Wilson play, she doesn’t remember that to this day.” 

Senior Lucy Strand is “super sad that it’s gone because for so long it was used for awesome performances and was a crucial hangout location for a bunch of middle and high schoolers in the area… there would often be super creative and inspiring artwork and statements on it done by a bunch of local teens which I loved to admire every time I found myself sitting there.” Her favorite memory is “when I was sitting on it for like an hour with my friend and all of a sudden a kid, maybe 9 years old, crawls out from under [the stage] with handcuffs, [disoriented] and asks ‘how long was I under there’ and then runs off. Weird, scary, but funny as hell. I really hope that mans was okay.”

I thought the stage was a prime place to sit and relax as well, it made me happy to have a spot where so many kids found community and peace. Like many others, I’ve shared a night with the stage after a Wilson play or musical, and I’ve sat on it during a breezy summer day. I think the stage was a rare place where kids could just be, and could just sit and think and talk outside. My favorite memory from the stage is from late spring last year, sitting with friends, sharing food with a little music in the background. Moments like that, watching the flowers bloom, being present with nature and the people I was with, were my favorite. 

The stage will be missed, but students will never forget the concerts it held and the unique atmosphere it created. A new stage is being built in its spot by the National Park Service, which should hopefully shape the experiences of generations far into the future.