This stone structure, located at Constitution Avenue and 17th Street, once served as the residence of a lockkeeper and his family of thirteen children from 1835 to 1855. The lockkeeper was responsible for collecting tolls and operating the lock on the Washington City Canal. Additionally, he was managed the canal connections and kept records.
Nearby residents were often plagued with flooding caused by the canal overflows into the streets and the National Mall. By 1850s, the Washington City canal fell into disuse and became polluted. Unsanitary, costly, and prone to causing accidents, the canal was eventually closed to barge traffic. Twenty years following its closure, the city filled in the Canal and created Constitution Avenue, thus removing the need for a lockkeeper.
The lock keeper's house was abandoned in 1855, except for occasional habitation by squatters. It was partially renovated in 1903 and given to the U.S. government in the early 1900s. It has been used as Park Police headquarters (who used it to keep prisoners), public restrooms, and now storage.
A historical marker on the house includes the following inscription:
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.1