Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).
The portion of the post that follows was originally published in June 2015 after I returned from a business trip to Washington, DC (US Capital). I was looking for a post to rerun next week, our Thanksgiving holiday. I want to put a post up, but I won’t be able to pay much attention to the blog. While I was looking around, I saw this building and decided to check on its status. At the time of the original post, its fate was far from certain. Happily, I discovered that:
In 2018, the Lockkeeper’s House, a critical piece of our shared American history on the National Mall, was restored and carefully relocated to its new site by the Trust for the National Mall in partnership with the National Park Service. The project, supported by private funding from Trust partners and supporters, breathed new life into the oldest existing structure on the National Mall, which was first built in 1837.Read the story of the restoration here: Trust for the National Mall
From the original post…This is where the lockkeeper lived/worked as he collected tolls and recorded log entries on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O) Extension that connected with the Washington City Canal in 1833. You can read about the C&O Canal here and you can read more about The Lockkeeper’s House here, if you’re interested. I found this interesting for reasons others wouldn’t necessarily understand.
I live in Windsor Locks, CT. Windsor Locks is located at the southern terminus of the Windsor Locks Canal and, since the canal gains a few feet of elevation as it heads north beyond the Enfield Rapids, there is a lock in Windsor Locks and a Lockkeeper’s House. I think I’ll feature that next Thursday so I can keep this post short(er than I want, because I could write thousands of words about canals and locks). I digress.
The other thing I like about this house is that somebody thought to preserve it. I realize that it doesn’t look particularly well-preserved. That’s because the people who thought to preserve it, had that thought in 1903 when they converted the building into Park Police headquarters (the house sits on the northern edge of the National Mall). In the 1940s the first floor was made into a “public comfort station” – I like that expression, used by the National Park system, better than “restroom,” used by Wikipedia. Presently, the building is used for storage by the park maintenance staff.
The other reason I wanted to feature this building is because it seems to be falling into disrepair again. This bothers me. The C&O Canal has been preserved as a National Historic Park, but this seems to be all that remains of the connection to The Washington City Canal. That canal was filled in long ago. Federal office buildings and Constitution Avenue have been built over the trench. It’s gone.
We They realized over 100 years ago that this building was worth preserving and yet we seem content to let it fall into a state where Congress will have to deliberate, delegate and appropriate in order to renovate (I’m on a roll here) a dilapidated building that could have been kept alive with a few replacement windows, a bit of mortar and a coat of paint on some doors and trim.
I wish I had new photos (there are some at the National Mall link) but I hope to visit Washington, DC again as a tourist, perhaps in 2023.
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