The Ellipse (President's Park South)

The Ellipse, is located just south of the White House fence.  In 1791, the first plan for the park was drawn up by Pierre Charles L'Enfant.  Work on the Ellipse was began by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1867. In 1879 it was landscaped in 1879, and  was lit with electric lamps in 1894. Today sporting events as well as other public gatherings are  held on the Ellipse.  On Christmas Eve, 1923,   President Calvin Coolidge began the tradition of lighting a "National Christmas Tree."  The Ellipse Visitor Pavilion which opened for visitors in May 1994  is used to distribute free tickets for special events at the White House such as the Easter Egg Roll and Fall and Spring Garden Tours. There also is an information, concession area, restrooms, telephones, water fountains, and First Aid area, all accessible.