Friday, 19 December 2014

AmEx saves historic DC site

AMERICAN EXPRESS has given $1 million (£639,000) to restore and preserve the Lockkeeper’s House, the oldest existing structure on the National Mall in Washington D.C.

The 178-year-old house stands as a rare artifact of early 19th-century Washington, when commerce was conducted via a system of canals designed to transport goods. 

The Lock Keeper's House located at 17th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW in West Potomac Park, Washington, D.C. Constructed in 1833, the Federal-style building housed the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Extension operator (the Extension connected the C&O Canal to the Washington City Canal). The house was abandoned in 1855 and fell into disrepair. In 1903, the building was partially renovated and used as storage for park service equipment. On November 30, 1973 the Lock Keeper's House was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

It has been boarded up for more than 40 years and is in a state of extreme disrepair, despite its prominent location near the Washington Monument and the World War II Memorial on Constitution Avenue.

As part of the grant funding from AmEx, the house will be lifted and moved back 32 feet from the road and heavy street traffic.

‘Historic places such as the Lockkeeper’s House help us unlock our rich cultural and commercial past,’ said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. “

Built as both a home and workplace, the house served the lock that connected the Washington branch of the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal and Washington City Canal that ran parallel to where the National Mall is now. The house was operated by a keeper between 1835 and 1873. He collected tolls, kept trade records, and operated the lock gates to allow for the passage of canal barges transporting heavy goods from the interior of the United States. When the C&O Canal was replaced by railways and the canals were filled, the house was no longer needed.

Go Holiday news :

Picture Credit: 'Lockkeeper's House, DC' by AgnosticPreachersKid (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

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