How Did George Washington’s Mount Vernon Become His Obsession?

Ashley | 08 - 11 - 2020
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Where is Mount Vernon? George Washington’s Home was located just 11 miles from Reagan National Airport. It became something more than his home. From the time he got the Virginia property came into hands in 1754 till his death in 1799, he kept tinkering and renovating the place.

 

His obsession with the Washington’s mansion began in 1734, when George Washington was only two years old. His father Augustin Washington built a half story house which is now called Washington’s Mansion. Augustin passed the estate to his elder half- brother Lawrence. Why is George Washington’s home called Mount Vernon? He renamed the estate as Mount Vernon after the English naval officer Admiral Edward Vernon. After his death in 1752, George Washington began leasing the property in 1754. Later, he started renovating the house by raising the roof of the building making it two and half stories high. Only in 1774, he added the north and south wings of the house.

When Did George Washington Die?
  • A. 1796
  • B. 1797
  • C. 1798
  • D. 1799

 

Before the construction of cupola, George Washington ordered architect Joseph Rakestraw to construct the weathervane in the shape of a dove of peace. But unfortunately, it was removed in 1993 because of the increased air pollution.

 

George Washington wanted the building to look rusticated and established his plan in 1758. Rustication is a technique that involves wooden siding to look like a stone. The beautiful Piazza facing the potomac river, specially designed by Washington is one of the most iconic features of the building. George and Martha Washington often used this space and enjoyed several open-air dinners. It became so popular that most of the American houses started to follow the same trend.

 

A large room in the building called “Cellar Kitchen” was used to cook food for the enslaved.

 

While most of the houses in Virginia were only 200 to 1,200 square feet, George Washington’s Mount Vernon house was almost 11,000 square feet in area.

 

This building is often reproduced by Americans more than any other historic buildings of their country. It is considered an important symbol for the nation. Washington was so obsessed with the house that even when everything around him was falling apart, he was still thinking about the betterment of the building. In his letter to Lund Washington( his cousin who took care of the building during his absence, he mentioned ‘“The chimney in the new room should be exactly in the middle of it” and “doors and everything else to be exactly answerable and uniform—in short I would have the whole executed in a masterly manner”

 

The walls of the rooms in the building are painted with unique insistent theatrical colors which were in trend those days. When he was fighting the Revolution, he stayed away from his house for almost 8 years and would only visit the mansion for about 10 days. Even during his visit, he stood all alone and took care of the construction of the building. Even in his letter to Lund in 1781, he spoke about the building saying, “what are you going about next” and “Are you going to repair the pavement of Piazza”.

 

Not only Washington’s building but the whole plantation was often renovated. An innovative “dung repository” was constructed for compost. There was a two-story treading barn. But in the end of the 19th-century, the barn fell into ruin and disappeared. Later, in 1996, an exact replica was raised.

 

When he was 67, he died in the same building in the bed chamber she shared with his wife Martha.

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