The Godey Lime Kilns were an important part of the thriving mid-19th-century commercial life of Georgetown. The manufacture and sale of lime at this site was conducted from 1864 to 1907, but the lime industry in the Washington area can be traced back as far as 1830. William H. Godey started his lime business in another location around 1858 and moved to the present kilns in 1864; the address was then known as 27th and L Streets, NW. Godey was in partnership with John A. Rheim in 1865 and 1866, and after their partnership was dissolved, Godey remained the sole owner until his death in 1873, after which point his family took over operations of the kilns. In 1897 the business was taken over a final time by John McL. Dodson, who operated the kilns until their closing in 1907.
At the peak of development, the kilns consisted of four oven structures and an assortment of wooden sheds and structures constructed around them. The entire operation was perched on the edge of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.
All wooden structures disappeared after the 1907 disbanding of operations at the site, and two of the four ovens were removed to make room for the highway ramps leading from the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway to the Whitehurst Freeway. As a result of this work, the grade elevation was raised about five feet and the main fire doors for the two remaining ovens were covered over. By the 1960s, the entire location had changed with the end of the Canal's use and its termination several hundred yards from the the kilns.
A remnant of the original lime kilns was restored in 1967 by the National Park Service. The highest remaining segment of the walls stands approximately 16 to 18 feet high. Made of stone, the structure had brick arched openings located on either side of the structure arms that projected towards Rock Creek Parkway.
DC Inventory: May 22, 1973 (Joint Committee on Landmarks)
National Register: November 2, 1973