What was once the main entrance to the Washington Navy Yard is now restricted to entry by residents of flag officers quarters and their authorized guests.
Latrobe Gate also garners historical distinction as the oldest, continuously manned Marine sentry post in the nation.
The Latrobe Gate is one of the few structures on the Navy Yard to escape the fire in 1814 when the British invaded Washington. Prior to the invasion, Commandant of the Navy Yard, Captain Tingey, was ordered by the Secretary of the Navy to burn the Washington Navy Yard lest it be captured by the enemy. Enemy troops briefly entered the Yard and burned the buildings that had not been set on fire by the Americans. As soon as the British departed, the local populace began plundering not only the untouched stores but also the two residences on the Yard. Soon afterward, Tingey strongly recommended erecting a 10-foot-high brick wall around the Yard to prevent a recurrence of this activity.
The Joint Committee on Landmarks has designated the Latrobe Gate of the Washington Navy Yard a Category II Landmark, which contributes significantly to the cultural heritage and visual beauty of the District of Columbia.