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Wakefield (George Washington's Birthplace National Monument)

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George Washington's Birthplace National Monument
1930–1931, Edward W. Donn, Jr. VA 204

Washington's father purchased the land in 1718, and the future president was born here in 1732. Although the family moved when he was three, he returned at the age of eleven to study surveying with his half brother, Augustus, Jr., who inherited the property. Excavations in 1930 and 1936 indicated that the birthplace was a timber-frame, U-shaped house that burned in 1779. Next to the original house site is Memorial Hall, constructed by the Wakefield National Memorial Association in 1930–1931. The one-and-one-half-story brick structure with large exterior chimneys is a fanciful re-creation of a generic mid-sized Virginia plantation house of the period. Donn, a consummate colonial revivalist from Washington, D.C., tried not to reconstruct the past, but instead to provide a convincing impression of the period of Washington's birth. The property passed to the National Park Service in 1932 and today is maintained as a living history farm. The Washington family graveyard is nearby.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Wakefield (George Washington's Birthplace National Monument)", [Wakefield, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 333-333.

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