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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User Reviews

JoJo Quidric (8 months ago)
We visited George Washington's Mansion last weekend at Mount Vernon, VA. We had a great time. It's a must see and good for all ages. The mansion and location itself is well preserved and maintained. I love how the tour guides are knowledgeable about the historic place, they are friendly too and answers your questions well. Don't forget to stop by the museum too, they have a lot of interesting historic items that they use back in the days. And good information about The Washington. If ever you got hungry, they have a restaurant right before the entrance that you can also try, or the food court upon exiting the museum. They also have a souvenir shop upon exiting the museum. Overall, We had a great experience.
Denise (10 months ago)
Absolutely GORGEOUS location. There's a whole lot to see here, and the history is very fascinating as well. Seeing as I'm not a big history fan, that's saying a whole lot. I came here with a school group and we only had a few hours to tour. I would say if you want to see everything, you'll probably need more like 3+ hours. The grounds are expansive, there's a great museum area to go through in the visor center, and a large shop as well as a place to get quick food. I believe there is a sit down restaurant on site too. Even if you don't love history, it's well worth a stop to tour. Especially loved the piper/drummer who was walking around and engaging the crowd. We had a student drummer with us, and he had the student play a simple beat on the drum while he played the pipe. Very entertaining, got the kids interested, and all the tour guides were eager to answer questions. Going to go back at some point with the rest of my family so we can see everything.
NANCY T (2 years ago)
Beautiful! An amazing place to visit. So much to see. The quality of the exhibits, site maintenance, tour guide discourse, and supplemental buildings are excellent. The historic buildings take you right back in time. Huge estate...plan to walk a lot. Highly recommend visiting here once for sure, and again more times to see and do everything.
Dan Apodaca (2 years ago)
The grounds and arboretum are spectacular! The layout of the entire property is very amazing. It makes you realize and appreciate how disciplined and efficient people used to be. Our modern society has lost all that due to conveniences afforded to us via technology. But, alas, I digress. The wharf and lowers gardens are nice. I can just imagine how spectacular this place was in the 1700's! Put this on your trip itinerary. You won't be disappointed.
Sue Wood (2 years ago)
This was an amazing experience! By far the best historical site I’ve visited! The tour of the grounds and the mansion were extremely well done! Very organized and informative! The museum/education center was phenomenal. So interactive! Loved every minute! Worth every penny of the ticket price!
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