Wheat Treading at the 16-Sided Barn
See how Washington used his remarkable 16-sided barn at Mount Vernon
Located on the banks of the Potomac near the wharf, the four-acre Pioneer Farm site explores George Washington’s role as visionary farmer.
Washington used Mount Vernon as a laboratory for testing and implementing progressive farming practices and the Pioneer Farm represents the more than 3,000 acres he cultivated during the second half of the 18th century. It also offers visitors a chance to learn more about the lives of some 100 Mount Vernon field slaves who put Washington’s agrarian ideas into practice.
George Washington's fishing operations brought in food for his enslaved and paid workers, and by selling the surplus, provided additional profits for his estate.
One of Washington’s masterful farming innovations was a 16-sided barn designed for treading wheat—his most important cash crop. The barn at the Pioneer Farm site is an exact replica of the original that was located on Washington's estate.
George Washington to Theodorick Bland August
Our recreated slave cabin allows you to see how many of Washington's slaves lived at Mount Vernon. You can walk into and through this structure that would have housed a slave family.
The Pioneer Farm is most active from April to October, visitors can see horses tread the 16-sided treading barn and other agricultural demonstration such as hoeing the fields, cracking corn, field plowing, and winnowing wheat.
Our integrated plant finder service allows you to better identify the names and details behind the amazing array of flowers, plants, shrubs, vegetables, and trees that you will find at Mount Vernon.