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WHS New "Tentative List": Places to Love -- Mt. Vernon, Virginia
Name of site: Mt. Vernon
Reason for importance (in a nutshell): More than just the estate of the first US president, Mt. Vernon "form[s] a remarkably well-preserved and extensively documented example of a plantation landscape of the 18th-century American South, based on English models but modified and adapted to the American context." Sprawling along the Potomac River are 16 surviving structures -- including the depressing slave quarters -- and meticulously maintained gardens.
Catherine's take: What draws me to this piece of history is the plantation lifestyle preservation -- namely, that it makes the practice of slavery more tangible. Sure, you can read what slavery was about, but actually visiting and seeing the geography of a plantation with slave quarters, kitchens and stables makes it all that more real to us in the 21st century.
Filed under: Arts and Culture