Mount Vernon was the plantation house of George Washington, first President of the United States and his wife, Martha Dandridge Custis Washington. The Washington family had owned land in the area since the time of Washington's great-grandfather in 1674. In 1739 they embarked on an expansion of the estate that continued under George Washington, who came into possession of the estate in 1754, but did not become its sole owner until 1761.

The mansion is built of wood in a loose Palladian style, and was constructed by George Washington in stages between 1758 and 1778. It occupies the site of an earlier, smaller house built by George Washington's father Augustine, some time between 1726 and 1735. It remained Washington's country home for the rest of his life. Following his death in 1799, under the ownership of several successive generations of the family, the estate progressively declined as revenues were insufficient to maintain it adequately. In 1858, the house's historical importance was recognized and it was saved from ruin by The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association; this philanthropic organization acquired it together with part of the Washington property estate. Escaping the damage suffered by many plantation houses during the American Civil War, Mount Vernon was restored.

Mount Vernon was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and is today listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is still owned and maintained in trust by The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, and is open every day of the year. Allowing the public to see the estate is not an innovation, but part of a 200-year-old tradition started by George Washington himself.

The present house was built in phases from 1758, by an unknown architect, on the site of the Washingtons' former farmhouse. This staggered and unplanned evolution is indicated by the off-center main door, which would once have been central to an earlier façade. As completed and seen today, the house is in a loose Palladian style. The principal block, dating from 1758, is a two-storied corps de logis flanked by two single-story secondary wings, built in 1775. These secondary wings, which house the servants hall on the northern side and the kitchen on the southern side, are connected to the corps de logis by symmetrical, quadrant colonnades, built in 1778. The completion of the colonnades cemented the classical Palladian arrangement of the complex and formed a distinct cour d'honneur, known at Mount Vernon as Mansion Circle, giving the house its imposing perspective.

The rooms at Mount Vernon have mostly been restored to their appearance at the time of George and Martha Washington's occupancy. These rooms include Washington's study, two dining rooms (the larger known as the New Room), the West Parlour, the Front Parlour, the kitchen and some bedrooms.

George Washington's remains are, along with those of his wife, Martha, buried to the new tomb presented by John Struthers of Philadelphia in Mount Vernon. Other members of the Washington family are interred in an inner vault, behind the vestibule containing the sarcophagi of George and Martha Washington.

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Founded: 1758
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in United States

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Robin Ripley (6 months ago)
Amazing! The second floor of the mansion is closed due to staffing shortages, but most things were open. Lots of natural beauty plus numerous outbuildings that served various purposes. The education center is like a whole museum in and of itself. I spent three hours at Mount Vernon with my 7 year old and we managed to see everything, though you could easily stay longer if you wanted to take a more leisurely stroll. He bounced from sight to sight, really only pausing at the blacksmith and loom to ask questions of the people working there. He's already asked me twice when we can go back! I've previously been in the spring when baby animals can be seen on the farm. For the historical side, there is of course great admiration for Washington himself. The education center goes into great detail about his life and the 4D movie about his role in the revolution was well produced. There has also been a clear effort to acknowledge the presence of slaves at his estate. There is a slave memorial not far from Washington's tomb and the staff mention not just that slaves did this work or that work but they know the names and jobs of many of the slaves. This information is integrated into the mansion tour and other aspects of the experience rather than put off in one section as an after thought. In sum, would recommend, especially in the spring/summer time frame.
David Rude (6 months ago)
Awesome place to visit!! So much history!! The staff there are good at answering questions and well informed. They are not historians but they are knowledgeable. They are also kind and engaging. It’s wonderful that places like this are well preserved to resemble what it looked in their day. The grounds are expansive and immaculately well maintained, most of all: beautiful. Wonderful place to explore and visit. Definitely check this place out. Awesome!
Beau Bluder (7 months ago)
This was a really cool experience I had last year! Probably the best part of traveling up east for spring! The view is amazing, the staff are really nice, and how much preservation is still there is incredible… when you walk inside you’ll feel like you’re in the 1700’s! Great place. Recommend.
Claudia Ahwireng (9 months ago)
The grounds are beautiful. There is plenty of space to walk around and explore. The mansion overlooks the Potomac river. The views are spectacular. There are tour guides within the grounds that can give you a quick history lesson. This is a great tourist visit for anyone who enjoys colonial history.
Quickly Colonial (16 months ago)
I have been to Mount Vernon once before, but myself. It was a holy experience. Washington is my hero. I wanted my wife and children to see it with their own eyes. It took 2 years, but were finally able to go this week. We ran into construction coming into D.C. and missed our mansion tour by 15 minutes. Upon arrival to the visitors center, we were just happy to tour the grounds, museum, stores, and pay our respects at the tomb. However, after viewing our online passes, the staff offered us brand new mansion passes for no additional cost. There was only one other family and a few stragglers, so we had the whole estate/ museum/ mansion to ourselves. And, as long as we didn't use a flash, they told us we were allowed to take pictures inside the mansion. It was an absolutely wonderful and spiritual experience. Thank you Mount Vernon.
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