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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon was George Washington's favorite residence, which he inherited  after his half brother Lawrence's death in July 1752 . He did not become its sole owner until 1761.

The estate is situated on the banks of the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia, near Alexandria, across from Prince George's County, Maryland.

When George Washington's ancestors acquired the estate, it was known as Little Hunting Creek Plantation, after the nearby Little Hunting Creek.

When Washington's older half-brother, Lawrence Washington, inherited it, he changed its name to Mount Vernon in honor of Vice Admiral Edward Vernon, famed for the War of Jenkin's Ear and capture of the Portobelo, Colón.

After four years working on Mount Vernon, George Washington entered politics as president of the Constitutional Convention. He reckoned farming to be "honorable, amusing and with superior judgement, profitable."

The original Mount Vernon house was only a story and a half in height with four small rooms on the main floor. In anticipation of his marriage in 1759, Washington had the house raised to two and a half stories and began landscaping the surrounding grounds.

Steadily adding to Mount Vernon, Washington increased its holdings to 8,000 acres, divided into five farms. He complained of heavy losses in bad years, but in good years his profits were large.

Mount Vernon seen from the Potomac River. By baldeaglebluff from Bald Eagle Bluff, USA - Wikipedia 

Extensions on either end of the house were planned in 1773, and work on them continued through the years of the American Revolution. Interior work continued for many more years.

Washington was absent from Mount Vernon during much of this work, but his letters show a keen interest in the estate and the progress of his many development schemes.

The library served as Washington's office and still contains many of his items of furniture, including his desk and chair.

Washington was especially fond of Mount Vernon and felt it was the most "pleasantly situated" estate in the United States. He yearned for a quiet life there but often found himself away on public business.

Portrait of George Washington (1732–99)

Farmer George tried to keep abreast of latest advance in farm techniques and in later years was regarded as nation's first farmer.

Mount Vernon was a self-sufficient plantation and had a large number of resident workers. In 1786 approximately 90 people lived on the Mansion House Farm, and another 150 or so lived on the adjoining farms.

George Washington made rye whiskey, apple brandy and peach brandy in his Mount Vernon distillery.

The estate that Washington inherited was approximately 2,100 acres (850 hectares) in size, but by the time of his death it had grown to more than 8,000 acres (3,200 hectares).


By the time of Washington's death, more than 300 slaves resided at Mount Vernon. Besides the field hands, there were blacksmiths, carpenters, shoemakers, brickmakers, and spinners.

George Washington's body was interred at Mount Vernon on December 18, 1799.

Mount Vernon was designated a National Historic Landmark on December 19, 1960.

Source Compton's Encycopedia

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