While Mount Vernon was owned by Washington, most of the work was done by enslaved people trained in specific trades.
In Mount Vernon's historic area, you can explore more than a dozen historic outbuildings.
In 1799, more than 50 enslaved men and women were trained in specific trades. These individuals used their skills to make tools and textiles, care for livestock, process food, and construct and repair many of Mount Vernon’s buildings, including the Mansion itself.
During your visit to Mount Vernon explore the outbuildings surrounding the Mansion.Plan Your Visit
Spinning HouseEnslaved and itinerant weavers worked in the Spinning House to produce basic textiles for use at Mount Vernon.
Blacksmith ShopThis building was essential to the running of the plantation and vital to Washington’s business endeavors.
GreenhouseOne of the largest buildings on the estate, it was designed to protect plants from the cold and house enslaved workers.
Slave QuartersThese living quarters, which flank the greenhouse, were home for some enslaved people who worked at Mansion House Farm.
SmokehouseVast quantities of pork were smoked in this structure to feed the Washington family and their guests.
Salt HouseThis structure provided secure storage for the large quantities of salt that George Washington imported.
NecessaryIn the 18th century, there were probably four necessaries, or outhouses, spread out around the Mansion House grounds.
Wash HouseLaundry for the Washington family, their guests, and single white male workers were washed here.
Stable and Coach HouseEnslaved men fed and groomed the animals, cleaned harnesses and saddles, and collected manure for use as fertilizer.
Ice HouseThis structure was like a dry well and used to keep ice frozen for months.
Garden HouseLocated in the upper and lower gardens, these structures were used to store tools and seeds.
Overseer's QuartersEach of Washington’s farms had its own overseer, who supervised work and submitted weekly reports.
Dung RepositoryThis structure was designed to compost animal droppings and other organic waste for use as fertilizer.
StorehouseUsed as storage under lock and key for hundreds of items, such as tools, leather, thread, powder, shot, and blankets.
Gardener's HouseThis building first served briefly as a hospital for enslaved workers, then for wool-spinning, and finally a dwelling.
KitchenThe Kitchen was used to prepare all meals served to George and Martha Washington and their many guests.
Servants' HallFor the majority of year, the Servants' Hall was reserved exclusively for the use of the visitors' servants.
Enrich your visit with Mount Vernon's audio tour, that discusses and interprets Washington's estate, including most of the outbuildings, at over 30 stops.
There are four different types of standing historic structures under the care of Mount Vernon's Architectural Preservation staff. Each type helps tell the story of life at Mount Vernon.
Explore the buildings south of the Mansion
A staff of enslaved butlers, housemaids, waiters, and cooks made the Washingtons’ lifestyle possible.
Dozens of enslaved men and women were trained in trades including distilling, carpentry, textiles, dairy production, and gardening.
Blacksmithing was an important craft activity throughout most of the Washington family's ownership of the Mount Vernon plantation.
For decades, Washington's fisheries along the Potomac River helped support the estate.
Samuel Vaughan sketched a plan of the Mount Vernon mansion and the formal area around it in his journal, embellishing it with a perspective of the river and the Maryland shore beyond.
In 1754, Washington began residing at Mount Vernon, a 3,000 acre estate and a house that approximated 3,500 square feet. By his death, the estate was about 7,600 acres and almost 11,000 square feet.