Lockkeeper's House carefully moved 50' on The Mall, to become more accessible

Lockkeeper's House carefully moved 50' on The Mall. (ABC7)

You have to look close to see the tires turning.

Simply glancing at the stones from Constitution Avenue during the morning rush hour wouldn’t do it.

It’s moving day for the Lockkeeper’s House.

“It approximately traveled at less than a mile per hour,” said Keith Autry, with Hensel Phelps, the general contractor for the project.

Within 30 minutes it arrived, fifty feet away but still on the National Mall at 17th Street.

“We really think of this project as creating a new gateway to this portion of the National Mall,” said Teresa Durkin, the project manager.

If you wonder what is the Lockkeeper’s House, you’re in good company.

“No I’m not familiar with it,” said Norma Lewis, who is making her second trip to the Mall from California.

But chances are, you’ve passed it.

It used to sit really close to busy Constitution Ave. with cars and buses passing by. Moving it back gives it more breathing room and will allow visitors better access.

What was inside, was torn down. Back in December, we took a walk through of the tiny rooms that once housed the lockkeeper and his family when Constitution Ave. was a canal.

“The lockkeeper definitely lived there and it was his job to take the tolls as the boats came down the canal,” said Durkin.

The National Park Service says the house will be the entrance to Constitution Gardens.

“It’s been a house that’s been boarded up for 40 years. It’s time to make it accessible to all the visitors on the National Mall,“ said Catherine Townsend, the President and CEO of the Trust for the National Mall, which generates private funding to rehabilitate the public buildings on the Mall.

Contractors will rebuild the bottom of the house using original rocks before lowering it onto the new foundation.

The inside will get a makeover before it opens to the public in the spring.

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