Skip to comments.George Washington's Gardener Slept Here
Posted on 03/17/2008 4:45:36 PM PDT by Coleus
A stack of leather-bound gardening books sat on a simple wooden desk in the middle of a small room. Two broad-brimmed hats, one for winter and one for summer, hung on pegs in the corner. In the bedroom, a pair of shoes lay at the foot of the bed, as if the gardener had just stepped out of them. With the restoration of a two-story pine structure used by one of George Washington's gardeners, William Spence, Mount Vernon is again complete nearly 209 years after the first president died. The gardener's house, built around the spring of 1776 and glimpsed yesterday as another spring approached, is the last of 16 original 18th-century structures to be restored on the historic estate on the banks of the Potomac River in Virginia.
Piecing together letters, plantation records and samplings of timber from the house, preservationists were able to reconstruct a building that was part of a major expansion at Mount Vernon before Washington left to command the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. Originally an infirmary for slaves, the gardener's house, like all historic structures at Mount Vernon, was restored to look as it did upon Washington's death in 1799. It will open to the public March 21, completing a decades-long renewal of the historic site that included the 2006 opening of a new visitors center, museum and education center. Mount Vernon attracts 1 million visitors a year. Preservationists said the gardener's house was surprisingly intact.
"The chimney was still there," said Dennis J. Pogue, preservation director for the nonprofit Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, which owns and maintains the estate. "The fireplace was still there. We found things like evidence where shelves had been.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Mount Vernon is an amazing place! Dream home! My reaction after visiting there was no wonder GW didn’t want to hand all this over to British!
Something everyone should have on their to-do list!
I am 12th cousin of George Washington. His great grandparents were my great great great etc etc grandparents. All I have to show for it, BAD TEETH!
Thanks, Coleus, for the post and the ping!
I just love visiting Mount Vernon...James Rees and the Mt Vernon Ladies Auxillary have done a FANTASTIC job. Here's to all y'all...I toast you with a cup of Lady Washington's rum punch!
The RevWar/Colonial History/General Washington ping list...Freepmail me to get on or off this list...
Spence, who came from Scotland, became head gardener in 1799 after Ehlers was dismissed.
Little is known about the men, though Washington once described the bachelor Spence as "industrious sober and orderly -- and understands his business -- In short I never had a hired servant that pleased me better."
Beautiful. I would like to visit Mount Vernon some day.
It will be a stop the next time out.
To all those who are in the DC area around Christmas time, I would recommend a visit to Mount Vernon on Christmas Day. They open up certain areas ONLY on that day...worth the trip.
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