Constructed in 1857, Harewood Lodge was the porter’s lodge for the country estate and farm of American banker, William Wilson Corcoran (1798-1888) in rural Washington County. The building served a similar function as one of the several gatehouses of the US Soldiers’ Home (now the Armed Forces Retirement Home), which expanded with the acquisition of Harewood and another farm to the north. The lodge represents a transition among the earliest phases of development and use in the county, from farms to country estates and from country estates to institutions.
Of his rural tracts, the Harewood estate is the most closely identified with Corcoran, as he lavished considerable attention on the construction of its outbuildings and the shaping of the landscape. Harewood and its gatehouse were both well-known to Washingtonians during the second half of the nineteenth century, as the property was accessible to carriage-borne visitors, a practice that would continue under Soldier’s Home stewardship into the twentieth century. The lodge is representative of the appurtenances of elite country estates and of large institutions in the county, but it also served as the humbler home and post of Corcoran’s and the Home’s gatekeepers, porters, and groundskeepers.
The two-story stone structure is one of the first Second Empire style buildings erected in North America, and the first within DC. It was designed by one of the first American proponents of the style, James Renwick Jr., one of the most prominent American architects of the era. With the exception of today’s Renwick Gallery, Corcoran’s downtown buildings have been lost to redevelopment and his farms, too, disappeared beneath the suburbs; it was the institutional reuse of his Harewood estate that preserved his gatehouse alone.
DC Inventory: May 24, 2018
National Register: May 20, 2019