Today Barb and I visited Mount Vernon, George Washington's home on a hill overlooking the Potomac River. What a beautiful situation! Interestingly, the main entrance is called The Texas Gate.
We went first to the Ford Orientation Center to see a film about the young George Washington. Some of it was narrated by Pat Sajak. Then we walked around the grounds, part of the time with a docent who was very knowledgeable. He told us that the greenhouse was recreated in the 1950s, using bricks taken from the basement of the White House when Harry Truman remodeled it.
Mount Vernon was Washington's home from the time of his marriage to Martha in 1759 until his death in 1799. He actually preferred staying at the estate and was reluctant to become President. The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association purchased 500 acres of the estate from the Washington family in 1858. The mansion was badly deteriorated and they thought it proper to restore and maintain it. They did extensive research so as to be as authentic as possible.
Washington was a brilliant man, working tirelessly for years in expanding his plantation to 8,000 acres, expanding and improving the mansion from six rooms to twenty-one, and adding outbuildings. The plantation was self-sufficient.
In his will, Washington directed that he be buried at Mount Vernon. He also selected a site for a new brick tomb to replace the original burial vault which was deteriorating. The tomb was completed in 1831, and his body and that of Martha and other family members were moved.
Particularly poignant was the memorial to slaves and free blacks who had worked for the Washington family during the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century. The original grave markers have disappeared and the identities of most of the ones buried there are unknown.