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Wed, 11.21.1759

Gunston Hall (Plantation), a story

Gunston Hall

*Gunston Hall is affirmed on this date in 1759. This is an 18th-century Georgian plantation and the home of white-American Founding Father George Mason.

It is near the Potomac River in Mason Neck, Virginia. Built between 1755 and 1759 as the main residence and headquarters of a 5,500-acre estate. The interior of the house and its design were mostly the work of William Buckland, a carpenter/joiner and indentured servant from England. After Mason's death, the house remained a private residence for many years. George Mason inherited 35 enslaved Africans from his father's estate. Ultimately, he enslaved at least 300 enslaved Africans, many of whom lived on his property on Mason Neck.

Records know the names of a few of these people, such as James, who spent his days as George Mason's valet, and Nell, who was a midwife and an enslaved house servant. In 1868, abolitionist and civil war Colonel Edward Daniels purchased it. It is now a museum owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia and open to the public. The home and grounds were designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 for their association with Mason.

Part of the Antebellum South, the Potomac River can be seen from the property. The Gunston Hall museum website says that the view was more impressive during Mason's time. The garden has four rectangles, with additional gravel paths running through and around it. To give the illusion from the house of all rectangles being the same size, the rectangles closer to the house were probably shorter than those farther away.

The outbuildings at Gunston Hall are reconstructed. They include a kitchen, dairy, smokehouse, and laundry. They represent typical support buildings of an 18th-century plantation household.

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