George Washington Birthplace National Monument

The house, destroyed in 1779, was reconstructed in 1931.
The house, destroyed in 1779, was reconstructed in 1931.

George Washington Birthplace National Monument commemorates the birthplace of George Washington, the first president of the United States. George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, in his family home in Westmoreland County in the US state of Virginia.


The original site of the monument was taken care of by John Washington, George Washington's ancestor. John oversaw the constriction of the original house which was lost before the turn of the 20th century. However, the foundation marks of the original house were not destroyed. Early 19th century saw the establishment of a public park and a memorial house. The outline of the foundation of the original house was used to build the memorial house.

Since no one knew exactly how the original house looked, experts did their best to create a house that outwardly resembles one built in the 18th century. Visitors are greeted by a Memorial Shaft obelisk made out of Vermont marble which sits at the entrance.

In this case, the monument refers to the entire structure; the property, the memorial complex, and the house. The monument and the plantation were ultimately known as Wakefield.


John Washington settled on the original property in 1657 and set up his plantation. Several renovations and additions were made which converted it to a ten-bedroomed house. Later, the house was given the name “Wakefield.” Wakefield was destroyed in a massive fire and flood in 1779 and was not rebuilt.

During the Civil War, the ownership of the land where the property sits on switched between the state of Virginia and the federal government. Later on, in 1923, an association was put in place and tasked with ensuring that the property was restored. The year 1930 was a significant one to the people of Virginia because it was the year that Congress declared that the land was a National Monument. The restorers oversaw the construction of the memorial house next to the outline of the original house. Crushed oyster shells define the original outline.

George Washington’s family was relatively well-off. In modern times, they would be described as the upper middle class. As such, the design of the memorial house depicts the social class with hand-made clay which was acquired locally. Each floor has four rooms with a hall in the middle complete with furniture of his era. Furniture in the house includes a tea table that some believe to have been in the original house while most of the other furniture dates back to an excess of 200 years ago.


The entirety of the monument is under the management of the National Park Service. Victors are allowed to the main house, the kitchen house, the picnic gardens, the general home region, and the hiking grounds.

In addition, tourists are allowed a visit to the Washington Family Burial Ground. 32 members of the Washington family are buried there. Two of the initial gravestones have their replicas there as well. Five memorial tablets from the 1930s are also at the graveyard. In addition to all this, there is a short film on the Washington family.


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