The three fisheries along the Potomac River reflect Washington’s entrepreneurial spirit. For almost 40 years, these fishing operations brought in food for his enslaved and paid workers, and by selling the surplus, provided additional profits for his estate.

Each spring, when fish began running past Mount Vernon's ten-mile shoreline, enslaved workers, overseers, and indentured servants dropped everything and headed to the river to haul in and process more than a million fish, in a matter of weeks.

The fish were sorted, gutted, cleaned and salted before being packed into barrels for storage and shipping. Refuse from the fish were loaded onto wagons and hauled to Washington’s fields to be worked into the soil as fertilizer. Various domestic activities, including cooking, provided for the needs of enslaved workers housed at the fisheries as they toiled around the clock while the fish were running.

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3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
Mount Vernon, Virginia 22121