Category: Federal Period Architecture

Georgetown’s late 18th, early 19th century domestic architecture

One of the most popular rows for tourists is also one of the best rows.  The power of simple motifs repeated down the row creates a sense of harmony, rhythm, and horizontal and vertical movement.  No American architectural style achieved so much with such restraint.  In most periods, such as classical revival, Richardsonian Romanesque — all great styles, and the post modernismGeorgetownIMG_5488_DxOVP (1).jpg, architects depend on bold statements to say their design is important architecture.

Charles Bulfinch Gatehouse

The great Boston architect Charles Bulfinch came to Washington to reconstruct the U.S. Capitol. He also designed the gatehouses and posts,all in local soft stone, for the fence on the grounds of the Capitol. Depending on what source is consulted, the gatehouses were constructed in the 1820s,1827,or 1828. So much for government record keeping.

They were removed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1874 and placed on the north side of Constitution Ave,NW at 15th and 17th Streets,NW. Again the sources differ as to when they were placed there; one said 1880 and others gave no date.

Yet sometime after they removed and before they were rebuilt near the White House, a waterline indicating the flood of 1877 was marked on the east side of the gate house at 15th St. A later,more substantial flood is also indicated on the facade.

Given that the present site is low ground, the high bloodlines are not surprising,but it would be nice to know where the building stood in 1877.

Or was the so-called 1877 waterline added after the building was moved to grounds of the President’s House? Or are all the dates suspect?Bulfinch gatehouse 1

Bulfinch gatehouse 2
(c)Bill Lebovich,all rights reserved,2014