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Quick Facts

Condition: Reconstruction
Parent Location: Upper Garden

Where is it Located

About the Greenhouse

George Washington's greenhouse, one of the largest buildings on the Mount Vernon estate, was designed to not only protect plants from the winter cold, but also to house enslaved workers assigned to the Mount Vernon farm.

Completed in 1787, the greenhouse—at the time an unusual feature on the American landscape—allowed Washington to nurture tropical and semitropical plants. Lemon and orange trees and sago palms grew here, much to the delight of strolling guests. An ambitious structure for its day, the greenhouse had many windows to capture the southern sun, a vaulted ceiling that promoted air circulation, and an ingenious heating system that generated radiant heat from a series of flues under the floor. Washington’s greenhouse burned in 1835, and the present structure was built in 1951 on the original foundation and based on drawings of the original structure. The reconstruction incorporates bricks from the White House, which was fully renovated between 1948 and 1952.

Virtual Tour