Quick Facts

Condition: Reconstruction

Where is it Located

About the Dung Repository

This building illustrates George Washington’s dedication to finding ways to improve soil fertility and to making Mount Vernon a model of progressive farming. The “Repository for Dung,” as it was known, was designed to compost animal droppings and other organic waste for use as fertilizer in the nearby gardens and orchards.

The original 31-by-12-foot open-walled structure was erected in 1787. It was reconstructed in 2001, based on Washington’s notes, historical documents discussing fertilizer production, and two years of archaeological excavation. Archaeologists revealed remnants of the brick foundation walls along the virtually intact cobblestone floor; these were incorporated into the reconstructed building. Washington’s dung repository is thought to be the first structure in the nation specifically designed for composting.

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