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Buildings along 17th Street, NW

Some notable examples of stone deterioration are included in this part of our tour. We will begin this segment at the northeast corner of 17th Street and Constitution Avenue, with the Capitol Gatehouse. We will then cross 17th Street and examine several buildings along 17th Street as we walk north towards Pennsylvania Avenue. The total distance is about three-fourths of a kilometer (half a mile).

Capital Gatehouse -- Site 7

Capitol Gatehouse
The Capitol Gatehouse, now located at 17th Street and Constitution Avenue, is made of the same sandstone used in the White House and the center part of the Capitol, but it was left unpainted. Deterioration of this stone is due to the clay it contains, not to the effects of acid rain.

This small sandstone building was built around 1828 at the west entrance to the Capitol. In 1880 it was moved (along with a twin and four gateposts) to its present site. This building is made of the same sandstone that was used in the central part of the Capitol and in the White House. Three types of deterioration are readily visible at the gatehouse: spalling, pock marks, and preferential weathering of clay layers in the stone. This stone may be more degraded than stone in the Capitol or the White House, because of variations in stone quality and maintenance to the buildings and because it has never been painted.

Spalling sandstone

This kind of sandstone was soon found to be a poor building stone because of its tendency to spall (detail on Capitol Gatehouse).

sites 5-8
Sites 5-8

Map of All Sites on the Tour [102 K image]

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Last modified 07.21.97