Mount Vernon Virtual Tour
Now your can virtually explore the Mount Vernon mansion.
The Mansion of George Washington's Mount Vernon is one of the most iconic 18th-century homes in America.
George Washington’s beloved Mount Vernon began as a one and one-half story house built in 1735 by his father, Augustine, and received its well-known name during the ownership of his half-brother Lawrence. George acquired Mount Vernon in 1754, and over the next 45 years slowly enlarged the dwelling to create the resplendent 21-room residence we see today. Washington personally supervised each renovation; advising on design, construction and decoration—even during the Revolutionary War. Conscious that the world was watching, Washington selected architectural features that expressed his growing status as a Virginia gentleman planter and ultimately as the leader of a fledgling democratic nation.
Now your can virtually explore the Mount Vernon mansion.
Did you know that the Mansion has a full basement, but no secret passages leading to it?
George Washington worked to expand and enhance his Mount Vernon home throughout his lifetime. Explore each of Mount Vernon’s three floors in our Room by Room presentation.
In 1754, George Washington began residing at Mount Vernon, a 3,000 acre estate and a house that likely approximated 3,500 square feet. By his death, Washington’s Mount Vernon consisted of about 7,600 acres and an almost 11,000 square foot mansion.
Learn more about the Mansion's famous cupola and the Dove of Peace weathervane atop it.
The Blue Room was one of the six primary bedchambers at Mount Vernon. Located at the top of the stairs on the second floor, the Blue Room overlooked the front entrance and the view to the west. By the late 1790s, it served as a bedchamber for visiting family and guests.
Added to the north end of the Mansion, Washington's New Room became the grandest within the house.
In recent years many rooms inside Mount Vernon's Mansion have undergone extensive restoration work.
Augustine Washington moves his family to the Little Hunting Creek Plantation for three years. Tree-ring dating of the Mansion has proven that a house built by Augustine in 1734 forms the nucleus of the current house.
Augustine Washington dies leaving the Little Hunting Creek Plantation to George’s older half-brother Lawrence.
Lawrence Washington dies, passing his plantation, now called Mount Vernon, to his daughter, and then his wife. George leases the plantation from Lawrence’s widow.
George Washington begins an expansion of Mount Vernon as part of his climb through Virginia society. He raises the one-and-a-half story 1735 house to a full two stories, building the elaborate walnut stair and adding ‘closets’-one story wings-on the north and south sides. He rusticates the wood siding to make it appear to be cut stone.
Washington marries Martha Dandridge Custis, bringing her and her children to reside at Mount Vernon. Just days before their arrival, Washington writes to his plantation manager: “You must have the House very well cleand... the Stair case ought also to be polishd in order to make it look well.”
Upon the death of Lawrence Washington’s widow, George Washington becomes the owner of Mount Vernon.
Washington builds the first of his planned expansions to the Mansion. This addition to the south end contained a study for Washington and, on the second floor, a bedroom suite for the Master and Mistress of Mount Vernon.
The Washingtons renovate their dining room. Carver William Sears executes an elaborate mantel taken from Abraham Swan’s The British Architect (Plates 50 and 51) and a craftsman known only as “the stucco man” creates a magnificent plaster ceiling copied from William Pain’s The Practical Builder (Plate LXII).
The north wing is built to contain an enormous one-and-a-half story room on the first floor. This room, called by Washington his “New Room” was intended to be a saloon a multi-purpose space given over to various forms of entertaining. The wing is constructed, but work on the interior does not begin until after the Revolution.
Work is carried out on the exterior of the house. The covered walkways linking the house to the Servant’s Hall and kitchen are built by carpenter Going Lanphier, and the pediment of the West facade is built. The piazza is constructed in 1777.
The cupola is added to the Mansion roof. In addition to giving the house a monumental appearance, it serves as a ventilator. When the windows of the house are open, hot air rises up the staircase and out the open cupola windows. This convection draws cooler air in through the windows of the lower floors.
Washington paves the piazza with stone pavers from Whitehaven, England, replacing the brick or tile pavement that had been used since 1777.
The interior of the New Room, which had been an empty shell since its initial construction in 1776-1778, is executed. Washington chooses the Neoclassical style, which features delicate plaster and composition ornament. The focal points of the room are a large tri-partite Venetian window in the north wall, a high curved ceiling and an elaborate marble mantelpiece given to Washington by his English friend, Samuel Vaughan.
Although George Washington deserves credit for the interior design and furnishings of most of the rooms in the Mansion, the couple's bedchamber was the domain of Martha Washington.
Unwilling to remain in the bedchamber where her husband died, Martha Washington retreated to a third floor garret bedchamber that one visitor described as a "cramped attic space."
The Downstairs Bedroom served as a bedchamber as early as 1759 and continued to be as such throughout George Washington's life at Mount Vernon.
Washington's study served as the center of his personal and professional operations during his years at Mount Vernon before and after the presidency.
Architecturally, the front parlor is one of the most elaborate rooms in the Mansion.
Generally considered a private room, the Little Parlor never received the costly improvements Washington made to the more public spaces on the Mansion's main floor.
According to an inventory, the kitchen contained a wide variety of cooking equipment, including pots and pans, skillets, a griddle, a toaster, a boiler, spits, chafing dishes, tin and pewter "Ice Cream Pots," coffeepots, and strainers.
Also called the Venetian window, the Palladian window on the north elevation of the Mount Vernon mansion is one of the house's most distinctive features.
Read our interview with Joseph Manca, author of George Washington's Eye: Landscape, Architecture, and Design at Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon was one of the most famous buildings in North America in the decades both during and after George Washington's lifetime.
While the inspiration for much of Mount Vernon's decoration came from pattern books, it was Washington's careful thought and personal taste that created a harmonious composition.
Washington intelligently organized Mount Vernon based on the principles of the Picturesque, creating a "natural" environment by establishing irregular features within a symmetrical plan.
Rustication is a manner of treating the exterior of a wooden building to make it appear as if it is made of stone.