Historic Lockkeeper’s House to Be Relocated to Serve as a Visitors’ Gateway for the National Mall

Trust for the National Mall and National Park Service to Restore the Lockkeeper’s House With Interactive Digital Exhibits

Trust for the National Mall

Press Contact:
Priya Pansuria



WASHINGTON (Dec. 1, 2016) — Today the Trust for the National Mall and the National Park Service celebrated the groundbreaking for the relocation and restoration of the Lockkeeper’s House, the oldest structure on the National Mall. For more than 180 years, the house has witnessed the history, development and commerce of our nation’s capital. Located just inches from heavy traffic at the corner of 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, the house will be lifted and moved about 20 feet from the road and outfitted with an educational exhibit space welcoming visitors to Constitution Gardens and the National Mall.

“We are thrilled with the work we have planned for the Lockkeeper’s House,” said Chip Akridge, founder and chairman of the Trust for the National Mall. “As the oldest structure on the National Mall, the house has tremendous historic significance that is often overlooked. Once the restoration is complete, we will begin phase two of the rehabilitation of Constitution Gardens, creating the model for sustainable urban parks right here in the nation’s capital.”

In its new location, the Lockkeeper’s House will serve as a ceremonial entrance to the National Mall, with a visitor information plaza and a digital exhibition space with educational programming to enhance the visitor experience. The digital content within the house will help explain the rich history of the National Mall and efforts to protect and preserve the Constitution Gardens. In addition, the construction will include a new stone wall and landscape improvements.

“Amid the grandeur of the National Mall, the Lockkeeper’s House is a modest reminder of Washington’s early days and those who helped to build the nation’s capital,” said Gay Vietzke, superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks. “We are excited that through the hard work of the Trust for the National Mall, this historic structure will soon tell their important stories and once again welcome visitors to the National Mall."

The restoration is made possible by generous private philanthropic donations from corporations, foundations and individuals, including American Express Company; S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation; Dr. Scholl Foundation; Clark Charitable Foundation; Pepco Holdings, Inc.; The Honorable C. Boyden Gray; Mrs. Kathleen Rooney and The Honorable Francis Rooney; and others.

“American Express is a strong supporter of historic preservation projects across our country’s national parks,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. “We are proud to partner with the Trust for the National Mall and the National Park Service to preserve and move the Lockkeeper’s House, and are thrilled that this landmark will soon offer a more interactive experience for visitors to the National Mall.”

Built as both a home and workplace, the Lockkeeper’s House served as the lock that connected the Washington branch of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and Washington City Canal, which ran parallel to the current site of the National Mall. The house is an ideal venue for telling the story of the National Mall’s development and construction, and its preservation will save a critical part of American history.

To accomplish this historic transformation, the Trust for the National Mall and National Park Service have partnered with Local Projects, an award-winning media and design firm with expertise in reinventing museums and public spaces, including the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center in New York City. Local Projects will help develop the educational space in the interior of the Lockkeeper’s House to attract and inform visitors with dramatic displays about civics and ecology.

PWP Landscape Architecture and Davis Buckley Architects and Planners will lead the project, and Hensel Phelps will serve as its general contractor.

PWP Landscape Architecture, along with Rogers Partners + Urban Designers, also will lead phase two of Constitution Gardens’ rehabilitation. The design for this project won the 2016 Excellence Award in Urban Design/Master Planning from the Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

For more information about the Constitution Gardens project and future restoration efforts on the National Mall, visit nationalmall.org/lockkeeper.

About the Trust for the National Mall

As the official non-profit partner of the National Park Service serving the National Mall, the Trust raises private funds and  leverages public support to restore, improve and preserve the National Mall. In addition, the Trust works to educate and engage the general public in understanding the needs and supporting the efforts to preserve the National Mall:  America’s Front Yard. This public-private partnership was created in 2007 to augment Congress’s contributions and help sustain the National Mall. Learn more at nationalmall.org.

About the National Park Service

The National Park Service’s National Mall and Memorial Parks preserves, protects and interprets the symbolic and monumental civic spaces and commemorative works in the center of the nation’s capital that honor American ideals and values, distinguished public figures, and military and civilian sacrifices and contributions. On the National Mall these sites include the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, World War II Memorial, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. National Mall and Memorial Parks also serves as a public park and open space for active civic and cultural engagement, recreation and public enjoyment.