Watch and Learn: Victorian Curiosity Restored to its Original Appearance

September 26, 2016

Established in 1799, the historic Washington Navy Yard served as the nation’s first home port and naval shipbuilding facility.  The Navy Yard recently reclaimed a piece of its illustrious past with the restoration of the Watch Box, a small, wood-framed Victorian building that served as a sentry post beginning in the 1850s. This small structure measures only 13 feet by 13 feet, not including a generous wrap-around porch.

Of particular historic significance, President Abraham Lincoln visited the Navy Yard late in the day on April 14, 1865, most likely making the Watch Box one of his last official stops before his fateful visit to Ford's Theatre that evening.

In 1906 the Watch Box was moved 30 miles down the Potomac River to the Naval Support Facility at Indian Head. It served several functions there until EYP was called in the evaluate the now derelict structure, stabilize it, and develop a plan for moving it back up the river to the Navy yard and restoring it to its original appearance.