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Identification:

Preferred Structure Name:
U.S. Capitol Gatehouse (former) - West
Structure Number:
01-03
Other Structure Name(s):
 
Other Structure Name(s)
1. 
Bulfinch, Charles, Gatehouse - 17th Street
Park:
The White House (President's Park)
Park District:
WHHO The Ellipse
Historic District:
 
Historic District
1. 
President's Park South
2. 
US Capitol Gatehouses & Gateposts Hist. District
Structure State:
District of Columbia
Structure County:
Washington
Region:
National Capital
Administrative Unit:
The White House (President's Park)
LCS ID:
011988
 
Historical Significance:

National Register Status:
Entered - Documented
National Register Date:
11/30/1973
National Historic Landmark?:
No
Significance Level:
National
Short Significance Description:
Erected in 1827 under the design of an U.S. Capitol Building architect, Charles Bulfinch, and moved in 1880 to its present location in President’s Park South, the Bulfinch Gatehouse - West is one of two listed on the National Register and also falls within the President’s Park South listing.


Long Significance Description:
One of four, the Bulfinch Gatehouse-West was designed by Charles Bulfinch, "the first native-born professional architect in the United States," (Goode, 138) who was named architect of the Capitol Building in 1817. Built in 1827, four gatehouses constructed of Aquia Creek sandstone stood on the west end of the U. S. Capitol Building grounds. These gatehouses and corresponding gateposts (listed separately) were compatible to the design of the Capitol's basement story. The original use of the gatehouses and coordinating gateposts were described in a 1834 guide to the U.S. Capitol building as "...four grand entrances to these grounds, two from the north and south for carriages, and two from the east and west for foot passengers. The western entrance at the foot of the hill is flanked by two stone lodges, highly ornamented for watch houses..." To accommodate Frederick Law Olmstead's new landscape design for the Capitol grounds, two of the gatehouses were removed from the Capitol grounds in 1874 and in 1880 and placed in their current locations at President's Park South on the corners of Fifteenth (East Gatehouse) and Seventeen Streets (West Gatehouse) at Constitution Avenue. In 1938 and 1939 the gatehouses were dismantled and rebuilt to the design of NPS architect Thomas Waterman and underwent major repairs in 1995 with new doors, windows, roof and concrete slab installed. The structures are listed on the National Register for their significance in historic architecture and for associations with the work of a master architect.
 
Construction Period:

Construction Period:
Historic
Chronology:
 
Physical Event
Begin Year
Begin Year AD/BC
End Year
End Year AD/BC
Designer
Designer Occupation
1. 
Built
1817
AD
1827
AD
Bulfinch, Charles
Architect
2. 
Moved
1874
AD
1880
AD

Other
3. 
Restored
1938
AD
1939
AD
NPS
Architect
4. 
Preserved
1995
AD
1995
AD
NPS
Architect
 
Function and Use:

Primary Historic Function:
Entrance Station (Guardhouse)
Primary Current Use:
Maintenance Facility
Structure Contains Museum Collections?:
No
Other Functions or Uses:
 
Other Function(s) or Use(s)
Historic or Current
No records.
 
Physical Description:

Structure Type:
Building
Volume:
1 - 2,000 cubic feet
Square Feet:
240
Material(s):
 
Structural Component(s)
Material(s)
1. 
Framing
Sandstone/Brownstone
2. 
Foundation
Concrete
3. 
Other
Sandstone/Brownstone
4. 
Walls
Sandstone/Brownstone
5. 
Roof
Copper
Short Physical Description:
U.S. Capitol Gatehouse (former) - West, located at Seventeenth Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, is constructed of Aquia Creek sandstone and is adorned with classical details including engaged Tuscan columns, a heavy bracketed entablature, quoins and a decorative frieze.
Long Physical Description:
The front and back facades of the one-room structures measure 15’ 8” wide at the base by 15’ 7” deep and has a sloped gable panel lead-coated copper roof, which was replaced in 1995. A central panel frieze of sculpted foliage with an acanthus leaf and rosette motif crowns a continuous frieze with a carved Greek guilloche design that runs around the perimeter of the gatehouse. Two Tuscan style columns, measuring about 9-1/2’ high and about 3’ 7-1/2” in circumference, flank the ca. 1940 replacement rounded arched wooden paneled door with curved molding. Sandstone blocks extending from the course at grade in front of the gatehouse support the columns.

Seven horizontal bands are at the corners. At each side of the gatehouse, a single window with a six over six wooden sash and sandstone apron is centered. A bronze plaque dated 1950 with a brief description of the history of the gatehouse was hung on the front façade by the National Capital Sesquicentennial Commission. A foundation of cobbled brick supports the West Gatehouse at Seventeenth Street and Constitution Avenue.