During this time period, the railway connecting Glen Echo to Washington D.C. was also built. The institute was only running for one year when rumors spread the death of a professor had been due to malaria. The reputation of Glen Echo suffered leading to its closure and sale in 1903. In 1903 the area was home to a small amusement park which expanded in 1907 thanks to manager William Shaw who brought in more and larger rides. The park remained under his management until 1911.
In 1911, the Washington Railway and Electric Company wanted to increase riders on the Glen Echo portion of their railway. The company bought the park and created a much larger amusement park that would be the premier place of summer entertainment for many D.C. area families. However, from opening day until the Summer of Change in 1960, the park was only open to whites.
As schools began to desegregate in the 1950s, the suburb remained mostly white and the small number of black children could not use any of the neighborhood pools. Glen Echo Amusement Park was home to the Crystal Pool which was only open to whites. Area residents who opposed segregation pointed out that the pool was financed with public funds. With help from Howard University students, residents participated in protests and vowed to not stop picketing the park until it was open to all. Protesters in the 1960 Summer of Change included Gwendolyn T. Britt who would later become a Maryland State Senator.
The park suffered declining patronage and was not well-maintained in the mid-1960s. A combination of a riot and safety concerns led to the park's closure in 1968. The land was later sold and eventually was acquired by the National Park Service and is home to a variety of arts and cultural organizations.