Mount Vernon has always been more than just a Mansion; it is an eighteenth-century plantation that served as home, farm, and business for one of America’s most prominent citizens. The essential operations of the plantation were performed in numerous buildings standing throughout the estate. Washington built these vital workspaces during the 1760s-1790s, in an ongoing pursuit of economic independence and financial success.
Mount Vernon is fortunate to have an extensive collection of well-preserved outbuildings, interpreted to show the range of plantation activities common during George Washington’s time. Along the lanes north and south of the Mansion are arrayed structures that house activities necessary to life in the Mansion, such as cooking, laundry, and spinning. Further afield, agricultural and industrial buildings provide locations for such activities as threshing, grinding grain, and distilling it into whiskey. In addition to providing spaces for work, Mount Vernon's outbuildings also supplied housing for the enslaved community that was essential to the plantation's success.
Learn more about all the historic buildings at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Which structures are original? Which ones are reconstructed or replicas?
Blacksmithing was an important craft activity throughout most of the Washington family's ownership of the Mount Vernon plantation. The earliest known reference to a shop dates to 1755.
A structure identified as the "Repository for dung" is depicted in the Vaughan Plan of 1787. Its location near the stable made it convenient for horse manure to be deposited and mixed with other organic matter to produce fertilizer for the nearby gardens, orchard, and fields.