Don's PhotoJaunt 2003Mount Vernon
George Washington (nobody called him George after he grew up, except maybe his mother and other close relatives; he was aloof to a fault, and most people were circumspect about calling him anything at all) lived at Mt. Vernon on and off all his life. In 1754 he acquired the estate and moved there with his wife Martha and her children.
This is the pretty side of Mt. Vernon, I think. It is the west-facing, landward side, from which you would approach the mansion if you were coming by land. A welcoming, attractive home, indeed.
I went through the mansion many years ago, but this time the line of people waiting to get in was so long, I just didn't want to stand in the hot Virginia sun long enough to take the tour. But as I recall, the inside was very nice and worth a visit.
Oddly enough, the building is constructed of wooden blocks, or at least it looks like it; it could be that they are long boards beveled to look like blocks. Sand was put in the paint to make them look like stones. Just why that method of construction was used, I do not know.
This is Mt. Vernon from the east, Potomac side. If you were visiting the Washingtons, and coming by boat, this is what you would see as you approached. As roads were very poor in those days, my guess is that most visitors came by boat.
One of these breezeways goes from the mansion to the kitchen; the other goes from the mansion to the "servants' quarters," whatever that means, probably the quarters of the slaves who worked in the big house. Although the east front is attractive also, I felt that these breezeways were the most attractive parts of Mt. Vernon.
This is the Clerk's Quarters; he was hired to maintain the accounts of the plantation.
This is the laundry room.
The kitchen. Most of the kitchens of the colonial homes were not attached to the main building, because of the danger of fire. Also, it was nice to keep the heat of the kitchen away from the living quarters in warm climates such as Virginia.
And this is the smokehouse, where the slaves cured those delicious Virginia hams under the watchful eye of the lady of the house.
Several hundred slaves labored at Mt. Vernon over the years. Those who died there were buried in a plot in unmarked graves. When I visited Mt. Vernon in the 1970's, no one there referred to "slaves"; they were "servants." But now, two hundred years after George Washington's death, the hard-working unpaid lifetime residents of Mt. Vernon are partially given their due; they are at least spoken of, and their burial plot is marked with a monument and this symbolic grave.
George Washington was an accomplished person in many ways, but to me his greatest accomplishment was that he willingly gave up power at the end of his term. That is something practically no ruler in history had ever done, and his setting of this tradition is one of the important reasons the United States has survived over 200 years. Let's hope the present and future leaders of our country continue leaving when their time is up.
After serving as America's first President for almost eight years, George Washington retired to his beloved Mt. Vernon and spent his remaining two years there, running the farm and living the life of a Virginia Planter. He died just as the 18th century was coming to a close.
He is entombed here, where his memory is kept alive by the thousands of people from all over the world who come here to honor him.
PhotoJaunt 2003 Intro |
Beacon Hill Area of Boston |
Boston Common |
Unitarian Universalist Association |
Massachusetts State House |
Adams Historic Park |
Boston Temple |
John F. Kennedy National Historic Site |
John F. Kennedy Library and Museum |
Acadia National Park |
Maine State Capitol |
New England in the Fall |
Town and Country Inn |
Vermont State House |
Chester Alan Arthur Birthplace |
President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site |
Franklin Pierce Homes and Gravesite |
New Hampshire State House |
Rhode Island State Capitol |
New York State Capitol |
Hyde Park |
William J. Clinton Home |
New York City |
The Met |
Grant's Tomb |
George Washington Inauguration Site |
Unitarian Church of All Souls |
Theodore Roosevelt birthplace |
Sagamore Hill |
Woodrow Wilson Homes |
Grover Cleveland Home |
Amish Country |
James Buchanan Sites |
Eisenhower Home |
Lincoln Highway |
Washington DC Temple |
Mary Washington Home |
Washington Birthplace |
Ferry Farm |
Mount Vernon |
Appomattox Court House |
James Madison Home |
Highland, James Monroe's Home |
Poplar Forest |
FDR's Little White House in Georgia |
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