National Park Service, The Lockkeeper's House

HENRY ADAMS was the MEP engineer for the rehabilitation of the historic house.HENRY ADAMS was the MEP engineer for the rehabilitation of the historic house.HENRY ADAMS was the MEP engineer for the rehabilitation of the historic house.
  • HENRY ADAMS was the MEP engineer for the rehabilitation of the historic house.
  • HENRY ADAMS was the MEP engineer for the rehabilitation of the historic house.
  • HENRY ADAMS was the MEP engineer for the rehabilitation of the historic house.

The Lockkeeper's House at 17th street and Constitution Avenue served the lock that connected the Washington branch of the Chesapeake & Ohio canal to the Washington City canal that crossed the capital city parallel to the national mall. The city canal suffered problems from its inception, and ultimately became an open sewer. The C&O canal entailed enormous national investment but fell victim to labor riots, floods, pestilence, right-of-way disputes, and finally competition of railroads. The result for the Lockkeeper's House was the filling in of the Washington branch of the C&O canal and the Washington city canal, leaving it removed from its purpose. The house was further isolated from the river with the major landfill and reclamation project of the turn of the century that created Potomac park the site of the Lincoln Memorial and reflecting pool. It served for a time as a squatters' tenement, and later for the park police with a holding cell. 

After World War II, the house became a comfort station, but was then abandoned except for some use as storage for groundskeepers. Few visitors to the park could visualize the historic scene of canal barges passing by the foot of the ellipse and docking at the wharf that once extended to the south of the house, nor the image of the Potomac River extending nearly to the base of the Washington Monument. The Lockkeeper's House stands as a testimony to its dramatic and eventful past. 

Henry Adams provided the MEP/FP engineering design for the revitalization of the historic house, which included a relocation and renovation to the building. The building was moved to a new location in close proximity to a reconstructed lake with aeration and other sources of natural energy.  

This project won the Best Renovation/Rehabilitation Award from Engineering News-Record Mid-Atlantic for its association with Constitution Gardens (Phase I). It also won a Merit Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation from AIA Virginia.

Additional Information:

LocationWashington, DC
Completion Date
Construction Value $7,000,000
OwnerTrust for the National Mall / National Park Service
ArchitectDavis Buckley Architects & Planners
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