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Oak Hill Cemetery Gatehouse

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1850–1853, George F. de la Roche. 3001 R St. NW
  • (Franz Jantzen)
  • (Franz Jantzen)
  • (Photo by Karen Kingsley)
  • Cemetery (Photo by Karen Kingsley)
  • Cemetery (Photo by Karen Kingsley)

The Oak Hill Cemetery Gatehouse marks the entrance to a large wooded expanse of land on the northern boundary of Georgetown. Banker William Wilson Corcoran, who donated the land for a cemetery, hired de la Roche, an engineer who had worked on the grounds of the old Naval Observatory in Foggy Bottom, to survey and lay out the cemetery grounds. It has been assumed that de la Roche also designed the gatehouse, intended to house offices and two stories of living quarters for the gatekeeper and his family.

Resembling a miniature Italian villa with an irregular, picturesque silhouette, the brick building is organized around a tower at the southeast corner. Red sandstone accentuates the building's shape and detail at the water table, window hood molds, window sills, buttress caps, steps, and stringcourse around the tower. Heavy wooden brackets at the eaves support the roof. Attached columns and floral capitals decorate the sandstone pillars at the entrance to the cemetery. Separated by several blocks from other Italian villas, the cemetery gatehouse documents the short appearance of this style in mid-nineteenth-century Georgetown.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee


What's Nearby


Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "Oak Hill Cemetery Gatehouse", [Washington, District of Columbia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of the District of Columbia, Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 414-415.

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