Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Virginia


The Gardener’s House

The Gardener’s House, Mount Vernon, Fairfax, VA (38.709726, -77.081881)

Felling Dates: Winter 1775/6

Ceiling joists 1775(C4), 1770; Trimmer 1775(C); Centre post 1775(C); Centre post 1775(5C). Site Master 1680-1775 MTVx2 (t = 5.6 FORES; 4.7 EYREHALL; 4.3 MTVx1).

The building now known as the Gardener’s House was originally erected as a hospital for ailing slaves and servants. A series of documentary references indicate that construction was underway by November 1775, and that the building probably was completed by the following spring. As such, its construction was part of a major building campaign -- consisting of demolishing and replacing the great majority of the plantation outbuildings – that was initiated by George Washington just before he left to command the American troops in the Revolutionary War. Records indicate that 10 years later the building had been pressed into service in support of the plantation cloth making operation. Finally, in 1792 it was being used as a domestic space, and in July 1793 it was converted to serve as a residence for the Gardener and his family. There are remarkably few references to the function of the building over the next century, although in 1886 at least part of the structure apparently had been converted as a “post office.” By 1893 the function of the Gardener’s House had changed once again, this time to provide quarters for the Estate security guards on the second floor and in two of the first floor rooms, with the remaining room on the first floor serving as the “guard office.” The building continued to act as the nerve center of the Estate’s overall security network until 2005, when a new structure was built to take over that function. In the fall of that year work began to restore the building to its 18th-century appearance, and it is scheduled for completion by the spring of 2007. At that time the building will be opened to the public for viewing as the restored quarters for Mount Vernon’s Gardener.

Miles, D W H and Worthington, M J, 2006 ‘The Tree-Ring Dating of the Gardiner’s House, Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, Fairfax County, Virginia’, unpubl ODL archive report 2006/20

Link to the Mount Vernon's wedpage here




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Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory

Michael Worthington
Jane Seiter, Ph.D

25 E. Montgomery St.
Baltimore, MD 21230