Skip to main content

Throughout the years, many U.S. presidents have visited Mount Vernon to pay their respects to George Washington. Learn more about these presidential visitors from Thomas Jefferson to Joe Biden.

Did They Visit Mount Vernon?




George Washington


Thomas Jefferson



John Quincy Adams

Andrew Jackson

Martin Van Buren

William Henry Harrison


James K. Polk


Millard Fillmore



Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S.

Rutherford B. Hayes

James A. Garfield

Chester A. Arthur

Grover Cleveland

Benjamin Harrison

Grover Cleveland

William McKinley

Theodore Roosevelt

William Howard Taft

Woodrow Wilson

Warren G. Harding


Herbert Hoover

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Harry S.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

John F.

Lyndon B. Johnson





George H. W. Bush


George W. Bush

Barack Obama

Donald Trump

Joe Biden

Early Presidential Visitors

Thomas Jefferson visited Mount Vernon in 1801, shortly after George Washington's death. Jefferson, then Vice President, came to pay a condolence call on Martha Washington. According to historian Don Higginbotham, Mrs. Washington supposedly said later “that, next to the loss of her husband,” Jefferson’s appearance there was “the most painful occurrence of her life.”

Learn More


Abraham Lincoln supposedly almost visited Mount Vernon. Although the property was considered neutral territory during the Civil War, it is unlikely that Lincoln visited the estate during his presidency. According to John Dahlgren of the Washington Navy Yard, "I advised the President not to land, and remained in the boat with him."

The Civil War Years at Mount Vernon


President Buchanan and the British Prince of Wales visit George Washington’s tomb in October 1860, painting by James Rossiter (Smithsonian American Art Museum)

President James Buchanan planted an elm tree at the northeast comer of the bowling green. A few years later, the brand new Mrs. Grover Cleveland, recently married at a White House ceremony, planted a similar tree at the northwest comer. Sadly, both trees were toppled by a tornado in 1906.

Famous Visits to Washington's Tomb


In 1890, President and Mrs. Benjamin Harrison attended a reception hosted by the Regent and Vice Regents during their annual board meeting. Eight years later, President and Mrs. William McKinley followed suit. The First Lady was so frail, however, that she needed to be carried from room to room in the Mansion.

Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale (Wikimedia)

Artist's rendition of President Rutherford B. Haye making an unexpected visit to Mount Vernon with his wife on May 8, 1878.

Teddy Roosevelt

It would appear that no president enjoyed his trips to Mount Vernon more than Theodore Roosevelt. The longtime superintendent who hosted most of those visits, Colonel Harrison Dodge, recalled in his memoirs that President Roosevelt "took his visits to Mount Vernon in a holiday spirit and was usually in a characteristic good humor."

In 1907, President and Mrs. Roosevelt, accompanied by the Postmaster General and other dignitaries, rode by horseback from The White House to Mount Vernon. "Just before they arrived," remembered Dodge, "a heavy downpour of rain came on, practically without warning and the party arrived quite wet and considerably bespattered with mud." Dodge found temporary wraps for the party, and while their wet garments were cleaned and dried, the guests paused for lunch. Roosevelt possessed an "irresistible companionability," noted Dodge, "and the meal proceeded with an extreme hilarity that bordered on hysterics."

Learn More


On another occasion, Mrs. Roosevelt and her son Quentin traveled to Mount Vernon on the presidential yacht, the Sylph. With Dodge leading the way, they proceeded by foot to the site of Washington's gristmill and distillery, Woodlawn Plantation, and the ruins of the Fairfax home at Belvoir, traveling some five miles.

Learn More

Edith Roosevelt in her official White House Portrait (Wikimedia)

President Wilson Brings a Yacht and a Steinway

On several occasions, President Woodrow Wilson honored Mount Vernon with his presence. The most memorable visit occurred July 4, 1918, when he brought more than 50 foreign-born citizens of the United States on the presidential yacht, the Mayflower. Each participant brought a handsome wreath decorated with the colors of his former nation. All were placed in and around George Washington’s Tomb. A Steinway grand piano was placed next to the Tomb, and the noted opera singer John McCormack, burst forth with "The Star Spangled Banner." Dozens of cedar trees were hastily planted to screen the piano from the Tomb itself.

It is estimated that twenty thousand people attended the event. In fact, the crowds were so large, they were not topped until 2017.

Learn more

Postcard of US Yacht Mayflower

Other 20th Century Visits

On November 8, 1925, President and Mrs. Calvin Coolidge escorted the Prince Imperial and the Princess Imperial of Japan, who arrived incognito as "Comte Asa and Comtesse Asa."

President and Mrs. Hoover celebrated Washington's birthday in 1932 at a special wreathlaying ceremony. President Franklin D. Roosevelt brought Prime Minister Winston Churchill of England and other dignitaries to the estate on New Year's Day in 1942.

A year later, President and Mrs. Roosevelt toured Mount Vernon with Madame Chiang Kai-shek of China on Washington's birthday. The Roosevelts made many visits to Mount Vernon. President Roosevelt was asked to speak at Mount Vernon on April 14, 1939, as part of the celebration of the sesquicentennial of the U.S. Constitution.

Learn More


In September 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and His Imperial Highness, Crown Prince Akihito of Japan, placed a wreath at Washington's Tomb.

President Herbert Hoover and Mrs. Hoover commemorated Washington’s birthday, 1930 (MVLA)

The Roosevelts & Madame Chiang Kai-Shek (MVLA)

The Kennedy Dinner

Perhaps the most elegant and elaborate presidential visit occurred in 1961, when President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy hosted a formal state dinner party, for the first time ever, outside of Washington, DC.

The idea of using the first president's home for a major event originated when Mrs. Kennedy and Mount Vernon's superintendent, Charles Cecil Wall, went horseback riding on trails throughout the 500-acre estate. Mrs. Kennedy's young social secretary, Letitia Baldrige, was assigned the task of organizing the event, which honored the President of Pakistan.

A Tiffany-blue tent was special ordered, complete with a canary yellow lining, and the National Symphony Orchestra was booked to play on the lawn. The event was a smash hit, although the costs were extravagant.

Learn more

President John F. Kennedy and Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy with President Mohammad Ayub Khan of Pakistan and his daughter, Naseem Akhtar Aurangzeb (MVLA)

Recent Presidential Visits

President Ronald Reagan

President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan came by helicopter to commemorate the 250th anniversary of George Washington's birthday. The President delivered a speech to a crowd of about 300.

Learn more and read Reagan's speech


President George H. W. Bush

In 1982, George H. W. Bush brought King Hussein of Jordan for a quick tour of the Mansion in 1989.

President George W. Bush, visited Mount Vernon several times. Once, to meet with the president of France, Nicholas Sarkozy.

Learn More


President Donald Trump

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association welcomed President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, and Emmanuel Macron, the President of the French Republic, and his wife, Brigitte, for a private tour and dinner at George Washington’s Mount Vernon on Monday, April 23, 2018.

Learn More


President Joe Biden

President Biden arrived by Marine One on the 12-acre field, Sunday, January 30, 2022 to address the National Governors Association. He was greeted by Mount Vernon President Dr. Doug Bradburn and MVLA Regent Margaret Nichols. Thirty-six Governors were in attendance.

The President delivered remarks in the Smith Theater and also spent time reviewing original Washington objects, including George Washington’s smallsword, Washington’s copy of the first acts of Congress, and the original dove of peace weathervane.

Learn More

Ronald and Nancy Reagan (MVLA)

President and Mrs. Trump and President and Mrs. Macron (MVLA)

President and Dr. Biden exit Marine One at Mount Vernon (Jim Lo Scalzo/UPI/Shutterstock)