Where Did George Washington Live? Landmarks Dot American Landscape

Monday, 25 Aug 2014 04:59 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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With memorials and tributes to President George Washington dotting the southern and eastern U.S. landscape, history fans may wonder exactly where Washington lived during his lifetime.

The most well-known of Washington’s homes was his family estate, Mount Vernon, located on the Potomac River in northern Virginia. The 400-acre estate features a dozen original buildings, gardens, a greenhouse, a distillery, and other buildings, and thousands travel there every year to learn about the country’s first president.

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Although Washington eventually inherited Mount Vernon, he actually was born in Pope’s Creek, about 40 miles south of the estate. But Washington’s father died when young George was 11, and he came under the care of his half-brother, Lawrence Washington, who owned Mount Vernon.

When Lawrence Washington died in 1752, the estate passed to his two heirs. Sadly, they both died soon after and Washington inherited Mount Vernon in 1761.

Before Lawrence Washington’s death, he and George Washington lived briefly on Barbados in 1751, the only foreign country that Washington would ever visit, History.org said. They traveled to the country in the hopes the weather there would improve Lawrence Washington’s ailing health. It did not, and they returned to the United States.

An interesting tidbit from Washington’s short stay in the country is that he got smallpox while he was in Barbados and survived it, developing a crucial immunity to the disease. That would be important, History.org noted, during the American Revolution when a smallpox epidemic threatened troops.

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As president, Washington lived in New York first and then in Philadelphia, as the country’s center of government wasn’t established in Washington, D.C., until 1800.

Although Washington probably only counted Mount Vernon as his home, the life of a soldier and general was extraordinarily mobile, and he would spend many nights at locations around the country.

A map on the Mount Vernon website asks visitors, “Did Washington sleep in your hometown?” and pinpoints hundreds locations where Washington was known to have spent the night.
 
The interactive map highlights obscure information like a home in Towlston Grange, Virginia, that was “the home of Bryan Fairfax who was a family friend of GW and Martha. Washington visited often during his formative years and maintained a friendship throughout his life with the Fairfax family.”

Or the entry for Bullskin, Virginia, which reads, “George Washington made his first land purchase in 1752 and it was 1,459 acres along Bullskin Creek.”

Washington’s final resting place was at the place he called home. According to the Mount Vernon website, Washington’s will requested that he be buried at home at his family’s estate, and he even made provisions for a brick tomb to be built to replace a family tomb that was deteriorating.

Vote Here: Which U.S. President Would Be Considered the Greatest in History?

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