Mount Vernon's historic outbuildings house the many important trades that sustained the bustling plantation.

In the latter half of the eighteenth century, Mount Vernon was the home, farm, and thriving business of one of America’s most prominent citizens and hundreds of enslaved people. The essential operations of the plantation were performed by the enslaved community in numerous buildings across the estate. Washington had these structures built in his ongoing pursuit of economic independence and financial success.

Skilled Trades

Skilled Trades

In 1799, more than 50 enslaved men and women were trained in specific trades that kept parts of Mount Vernon’s operation self-sufficient.

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Blacksmith Shop

Blacksmith Shop

Blacksmithing was an important craft activity throughout most of the Washington family's ownership of the Mount Vernon plantation. The earliest known reference to a shop dates to 1755.

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Fisheries and the Potomac River

Fisheries and the Potomac River

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

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Plantation Structure

Plantation Structure

In 1799, Mount Vernon consisted of 8,000 acres divided into five farms, plus a gristmill and distillery. Enslaved men, women, and children lived on each farm. The workers at Mansion House Farm were primarily domestic servants and craftsmen, while those on the outlying farms labored in the fields.

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