In 1804, President Thomas Jefferson selected Benjamin H. Latrobe, one of America’s foremost early architects, to design and build a main gate for the Washington Navy Yard. Constructed in two years, the structure is an example of Greek Revival and was completed in 1806. The gate lies at the juncture of Eighth Street and M Street. Latrobe also oversaw the construction of the guardhouse, officer’s quarters, shops for various trades, and a foundry and rolling mill. One of the three structures that survived the burning of the navy yard in 1814 by the British during the War of 1812, the gate was altered in 1823 when an additional story was added to offer Marine officers more space. In 1830-31, the structure was painted white to hide the contrast in bricks. Additional modifications were completed and stories were built in 1881 to allow the Marines to have further space. Since that time, numerous dignitaries have passed through the gates such as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1939 when they visited Washington. In 1973, Latrobe Gate was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Latrobe Gate is restricted to the residents of flag officer quarters. The main entrance for visitors to the navy yard is 11th Street and O Street.
Image: NH 97844: Washington Navy Yard, early 1990s. Note Latrobe Gate in the lower right. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.
To learn more about Latrobe Gate, please contact our Education Department for a spot on the next Walking Tour of the Washington Navy Yard.