Washington City Canal Lockkeeper’s House

The Lockkeeper’s House was erected in 1833, when DC connected the Washington City Canal to the C&O Canal.

This Lockkeeper’s House is the only remnant of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Extension, which was built between 1832 and 1833 to connect the C&O Canal (begun in 1828, and originating at Rock Creek) to the Washington City Canal (built from 1802 to 1815, and leading from the Potomac River at 17th Street NW to the Anacostia River). The city canal is now Constitution Avenue. The extension was intended to ensure that the city would benefit from commerce along the major canals.

The house is a simple 1-½-story fieldstone building (originally 2-½-stories) with a shingled roof and end chimneys. It fell into disuse by 1855 and was converted for park purposes in 1903. Originally located slightly to the southeast, the building was moved in 1915 as 17th Street was extended south across West Potomac Park. The house was first restored in the 1930s, and rehabilitated more recently, in 2017. At that time, it was also moved (marginally) once again. The Lockkeeper's House is now used by the National Park Service as a visitor center.

DC Inventory: November 8, 1964 (Joint Committee on Landmarks)
DC Inventory (Additional Documentation): October 27, 2022
National Register: November 30, 1973



17th Street & Constitution Avenue, NW