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Lockkeeper's House southwest of the O.A.S. Bldg in Washington, D.C.

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See also the Bulfinch gatehouse & gate posts.

The Lockkeeper's House is the only remnant of the C & O Canal Extension. The building was constructed as the house for the Lockkeeper of the Canal, who collected the tolls and kept records of commerce on the canal. The C & O Extension was built between 1832 and 1833 to connect the Washington City Canal with the C & O Canal. Source: NPS.gov

(as a work of the federal gov't it is in the public domain) Tiber Creek & the Washington City Canal: Originally known as Goose Creek, Tiber Creek was renamed after Rome's Tiber River as the lands southeast of then Georgetown, Maryland, were selected for the City of Washington, the new capital of the United States. It flowed south toward the base of Capitol Hill, then west meeting the Potomac near Jefferson Pier. Using the original Tiber Creek for commercial purposes was part of L'Enfant's original plan. The idea was that it could be widened and channeled into a canal to the Potomac. And so part of it became the Washington City Canal, running along what is now Constitution Avenue. By the 1870s, however, because Washington had no separate storm drain and sewer system, the Washington City Canal was notoriously stinky. It had become an open sewer. When Alexander "Boss" Shepherd joined the Board of Public Works in 1871, he and the Board engaged in a massive, albeit uneven, series of infrastructure improvements, including grading and paving streets, planting trees, installing sewers and laying out parks. One of these projects was to enclose Tiber Creek/Washington City Canal. A German immigrant engineer named Adolf Cluss, also on the Board, is credited with constructing a tunnel from Capitol Hill to the Potomac "wide enough for a bus to drive through to put Tiber Creek underground." Source: Wikipedia




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0001000/01030_0000014400 (added ca. 2006)



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0001000/01030_0000014410 (added ca. 2006)



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0001000/01030_0000014420 (added ca. 2006)


LOCK KEEPER'S HOUSE
FORMERLY THE EASTERN TERMINAL
OF THE CHESAPEAKE AND OHIO CANAL
ERECTED ABOUT 1835
THE CANAL PASSED ALONG THE
PRESENT LINE OF B STREET IN FRONT
OF THIS HOUSE EMPTYING INTO
TIBER CREEK AND THE POTOMAC RIVER

OFFICE OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND PUBLIC PARKS
JULY 4 1928

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0001000/01030_0000014430 (added ca. 2006)


The Canal Connection
President George Washington commissioned Pierre L'Enfant to design the Capital City in 1790. The L'Enfant Plan included a system of canals to transport heavy goods at a time when roads andstreets were few and muddy. The Washington City Canal (green) was opened in 1815. Constructionbegan in 1828 on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (yellow) to connect Washington DC. to the fertileOhio Valley. The Washington Branch of the C&O Canal (red), built by 1833, joined the two waterwaysand opened the city to commerce.

The Canal ventures proved to be an expensive investment. The Washington Branch of the C&O Canaland the Washington City Canal carried so little commerce that they were abandoned 30 yearsafter construction. Railroads, not canals, dominated transportation in the nineteenth century. Inthe 1870s the long process of filling these canals began.

This Canal house built at Lock [B by 1833] sheltered the lockkeeper who also collected tolls andkept records of [commerce] on the waterway. It remains today as the only remnant of the WashingtonBranch of the C&O Canal.

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0001000/01030_0000014440 (added ca. 2006)

More Info

Related subjects:
History, American
Location: Constitution Ave & 17th St NW Washington, D.C. O.A.S. Building

Nearest Metro: Smithsonian (Orange - Blue - Silver) (click station name for all sculptures nearby) (dcMem ID #1030 )

Links & other sources
'Who is That Man Anyway?' on Lock house (19)
Wikipedia article on C&O Canal
Wikipedia article on the Washington City Canal / Tiber Creek
NPS.gov on the Canal
NPS.gov List of Classified Structures Lockhouse

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