The Mansion of George Washington's Mount Vernon is one of the most iconic 18th-century homes in America.

George Washington’s beloved Mount Vernon began as a one and one-half story farmhouse built in 1735 by his father, Augustine, and received its well-known name during the ownership of his half-brother Lawrence. George acquired Mount Vernon in 1754, and over the next 45 years slowly enlarged the dwelling to create the resplendent 21-room residence we see today. Washington personally supervised each renovation; advising on design, construction and decoration—even during the Revolutionary War. Conscious that the world was watching, Washington selected architectural features that expressed his growing status as a Virginia gentleman planter and ultimately as the leader of a fledgling democratic nation.

Videos on Mount Vernon's Mansion

View our collection of videos related to the Mansion and its various rooms

Building Mount Vernon

1735
1787
Young George Washington moves to Little Hunting Creek Plantation
Augustine Washington Dies, Leaving the Plantation to Lawrence Washington
Lawrence Washington Dies, George Washington Leases the Plantation
George Washington expands Mount Vernon
Washington marries Martha Dandridge Custis
Washington inherits Mount Vernon
Washington builds the first of his planned expansions to the Mansion
The Washingtons renovate their dining room
The north wing is built to contain an enormous one-and-a-half story room
Improvements to the exterior of the Mansion
The cupola is added to the roof
Washington paves the piazza with stone pavers
The interior of the New Room is completed
The Dove of Peace weathervane is added

1735

Young George Washington moves to Little Hunting Creek Plantation

Augustine Washington moves his family to the Little Hunting Creek Plantation for three years. Tree-ring dating of the Mansion has proven that a house built by Augustine in 1735 forms the nucleus of the current house.

Augustine Washington Dies, Leaving the Plantation to Lawrence Washington

Augustine Washington dies leaving the Little hunting Creek Plantation to George’s older half-brother Lawrence.

Lawrence Washington Dies, George Washington Leases the Plantation

Lawrence Washington dies, passing his plantation, now called Mount Vernon, to his daughter, and then his wife. George leases the plantation from Lawrence’s widow.

George Washington expands Mount Vernon

George Washington begins an expansion of Mount Vernon as part of his climb through Virginia society. He raises the one-and-a-half story 1735 house to a full two stories, building the elaborate walnut stair and adding ‘closets’-one story wings-on the north and south sides. He rusticates the wood siding to make it appear to be cut stone.

Washington marries Martha Dandridge Custis

Washington marries Martha Dandridge Custis, bringing her and her children to reside at Mount Vernon.  Just days before their arrival, Washington writes to his plantation manager: “You must have the House very well cleand... the Stair case ought also to be polishd in order to make it look well.”

Washington inherits Mount Vernon

Upon the death of Lawrence Washington’s widow, George Washington becomes the owner of Mount Vernon.

Washington builds the first of his planned expansions to the Mansion

Washington builds the first of his planned expansions to the Mansion.  This addition to the south end contained a study for Washington and, on the second floor, a bedroom suite for the Master and Mistress of Mount Vernon.

The Washingtons renovate their dining room

The Washingtons renovate their dining room.  Carver William Sears executes an elaborate mantel taken from Abraham Swan’s The British Architect (Plates 50 and 51) and a craftsman known only as “the stucco man” creates a magnificent plaster ceiling copied from William Pain’s The Practical Builder (Plate LXII).

The north wing is built to contain an enormous one-and-a-half story room

The north wing is built to contain an enormous one-and-a-half story room on the first floor.  This room, called by Washington his “New Room” was intended to be a saloon a multi-purpose space given over to various forms of entertaining.  The wing is constructed, but work on the interior does not begin until after the Revolution.

Improvements to the exterior of the Mansion

Work is carried out on the exterior of the house. The covered walkways linking the house to the Servant’s Hall and kitchen are built by carpenter Going Lanphier, and the pediment of the West facade is built. The piazza is constructed in 1777.

The cupola is added to the roof

The cupola is added to the Mansion roof.  In addition to giving the house a monumental appearance, it serves as a ventilator.  When the windows of the house are open, hot air rises up the staircase and out the open cupola windows.  This convection draws cooler air in through the windows of the lower floors.

Washington paves the piazza with stone pavers

Washington paves the piazza with stone pavers from Whitehaven, England, replacing the brick or tile pavement that had been used since 1777.

The interior of the New Room is completed

The interior of the New Room, which had been an empty shell since its initial construction in 1776-1778, is executed. Washington chooses the Neoclassical style, which features delicate plaster and composition ornament.  The focal points of the room are a large tri-partite Venetian window in the north wall, a high curved ceiling and an elaborate marble mantelpiece given to Washington by his English friend, Samuel Vaughan.

The Dove of Peace weathervane is added

The Dove of Peace weathervane is installed at the top of the cupola. Washington commissioned Joseph Rakestraw of Philadelphia to fabricate it to his specifications: “"I should like to have a bird (in place of the Vain) with an olive branch in its Mouth..." 

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3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
Mount Vernon, Virginia 22121