By 1853, George Washington’s home was almost lost to ruins until… “If the men of the country wont save Mount Vernon, the women should.” – Louisa Bird Cunningham
Today, Mount Vernon stands as a monument to the very idea of historical preservation. With upwards of a million annual guests, it is one of the most visited and best known historical sites in the country. It is home to a sprawling grounds, the world’s greatest George Washington impersonator, and one very old whiskey distillery (fun fact: towards the end of the 1700s, George Washington himself was the young country’s largest producer of the spirit).
But things weren’t always always this way for the storied plantation estate. After Washington died in 1799, Mount Vernon fell into disrepair. This is the little-known story of how Mount Vernon was saved from ruin, as told to me by Mary V. Thompson, a research historian at Mount Vernon.