George Washington Birthplace National Monument

History

George Washington Birthplace National Monument is located on the property that was first settled by George Washington' great grandfather John Washington in 1657.

The house where George Washington was born was built before 1716.  It was enlarged between 1722 and 1726 and again in the 1770's.   The house was known as Wakefield.  George Washington referred to the house as a mansion.  The house was destroyed by fire on Christmas Day, 1779. 

History or the National Monument

The land where the National Monument stands was acquired by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1858. Virginia purchased the land where the house was believed to stand and the Washington family cemetery.  In 1859, John E. Wilson deeded a right-of-way through his property to the birthplace site and the cemetery.  In 1879, Congress approved the construction of a monument to mark the birth site and authorized acquisition of the land and the right-of-way.  Virginia donated the land to the United States Federal Government in 1882.  In 1883, John E. Wilson sold 12 acres surrounding the birth site and an additional 10 acre right-of-way to the Federal Government.  In 1896, a one tenth scale version of the Washington monument was erected on the site where the Wakefield mansion was believed to have stood.  

In 1923, the Wakefield National Memorial Association was formed to restore the property.  In 1924, the Association raised funds for acquiring land between the birth site and the burial grounds.  They convinced John D. Rockefeller to purchase 273 acres of the Wakefield plantation and transfer it to the United States government.  In 1926, Congress granted the Wakefield Association the authority to construct a house at Wakefield that would match the one where Washington was born.  In 1929, the Association acquired an additional 100 acres of land.  In 1930, Congress designated the land as George Washington Birthplace National Monument and determined that it would be administered by the National Park Service. 

In 1930 and 1931 the Association built an early 18th century style brick home to mark the approximate location of Washington's birth.  Though much research was done, they were unable to determine the exact design of the house.  In 1932, the Memorial House and park were opened by the National Park Service to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Washington's birth.

The National Monument Today

George Washington Birthplace National Monument is still operated by the National Park Service.  The park consists of the replica Washington monument, the Memorial House, a colonial farm and garden, and the Washington family burial ground.  The monument is located at 1732 Popes Creek Road Colonial Beach, VA 22443.  See the map below.

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