Tuesday, March 24, 2015

15 fun facts about Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon, the majestic home of George and Martha Washington, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Washington D.C. area. Every year one million people visit this historic property.

Today the grand home stands as a reminder of Early American history and a man who played a pivotal role in the formation of a new country. While much is known about the man, how much is known about the U.S. first president's beloved home?

Front view of Mount Vernon

1fun facts about Mount Vernon


1. The land Mount Vernon sits on was patented in the late 1660s when Thomas Lord Culpeper granted 5,000 acres of the then-wilderness region bordering the western side of the Potomac River to Colonel Nicholas Spencer and Lieutenant Colonel John Washington.

2. This land was originally called "Little Hunting Creek". The name was later changed to "Mount Vernon" after Lawrence Washington (George's older half-brother) was deeded the land. Lawrence had named the land after his former commanding officer, Admiral Edward Vernon.

3. For almost three centuries, Mount Vernon has consistently had a home on the land. The original structure was built in 1735 by Augustine Washington, George Washington's father. Washington himself was just three years old at the time. The home was a modest 1.5 story farmhouse with six rooms.

4. George Washington first leased Mount Vernon in 1754, he did not inherit the property until 1761 when Lawrence's widow passed away.

5. Despite being "on the road" much of his life, Washington worked tirelessly to build and expand Mount Vernon to become the grand house visitors see today. At the time of his death on Dec. 14, 1799, the property had grown from 2,000 acres to 8,000 acres. The house itself had grown to 21 rooms and was enlarged to 2.5 stories tall.

6. After Washington's death, Martha Washington closed up the marital bedroom on the second floor and moved to a modest room located on the third floor.

7. Did you know if you visit Mount Vernon during the  the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's (usually until January 6th), you can tour the mansion's third floor? It's tight quarters and is only opened for a brief time each year.

8. There are two family tombs located on the property. The "old tomb" was the original family crypt, however, in his will Washington designated a new larger burial vault be built and family members were to be moved to the new crypt. This move occurred in 1831.

The original Washington family vault

9.  After Washington's retirement in 1798 after serving 2 terms as President, George and Martha hosted more than 600 overnight guests at Mount Vernon; they barely had any time alone at all. It is said some of these guests stayed for weeks or months at a time!

10. While he was a surveyor, soldier and president, Washington actually considered himself foremost as a farmer. This is evident throughout his home. The "new room" (the "fancy" large room in the mansion, the last addition made) ceiling highlights farming tools in its elaborate design.

11. The "new room" has several paintings hanging in it that feature some of the rivers located in the United States, including the famous Hudson River.

12. The Mount Vernon Ladies Association purchased a very much dilapidated Mount Vernon in 1858. The organization has steadily restored the mansion and preserved its interior to its original glory.

13. Washington had built a unique 16-sided wheat treading barn. Horse would walk over the wheat, taking the grain out of the husks and drop to an area below the barn's floor where it could be retrieved and shucked. This barn has been reproduced and is open to the public down near the river at the "Pioneer Farm".

14. Several trees from Washington's day still survive on the property's bowling green. These are marked with plaques designating their historic significance.

15. The presidential chair, the trunk Washington carried during the Revolutionary War and the key to the Bastille (a gift from the Marquis de Lafayette) can all be viewed inside Mount Vernon during a tour.

Mount Vernon is open for visitors 365 days a year, hours do vary depending on the season. Throughout the year there are different events and fun things to see and do. We usually try to visit during the different times of year.

I hope you've enjoyed these fun facts. Visiting Mount Vernon is truly an experience. 

[Related post with more details and photos about visiting Mount Vernon: A trip to George Washington’s Mount Vernon is a visit to remember

View of Mount Vernon from the Potomac River. This shows the rear of the grand mansion, you can see the lovely porch.


  1. Very interesting post. I love the view of Mount Vernon from the River.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank so much for stopping by and for your kind comment

  3. Fantastic post. I enjoyed the information very much!

    1. Thanks so much William for visiting and leaving such a kind comment. I'm go glad you liked it.