George Washington Birthplace Celebrates 80th Anniversary
On November 10th, under blue skies and unseasonably warm temperatures, park staff, volunteers, alumni, and friends of George Washington Birthplace National Monument came together for an 80th anniversary reunion at the park.
The highlight of the day was the reopening of the Dancing Marsh footbridge connecting the historical area to the original Tea House (known today as the Log House). The original bridge was a part of the 1930s commemorative landscape and had been removed in the early 1950s after successive damaging storms. Supported with funds from the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, the new bridge is built to contemporary standards and weathered hurricane Sandy without a board going out of place.
The reunion was a daylong event that included presentations by distinguished guests, a flag raising ceremony by a local cub scout group, the scanning and documenting of old photographs and other memorabilia brought by alumni, and a wonderful catered barbeque lunch at the picnic area. Guests included the vice-chair of Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors, Paul Reber, Executive Director of Stratford Hall and Ken Benson, Manager of Westmoreland State Park. Included among the alumni was Barbara Hough Miller, daughter of the first park superintendent (Philip Hough 1932-53) and her childhood playmate, Mrs. Johnson, daughter of an African American family and life-long park neighbor and whose family helped build the Memorial House and Kitchen. The childhood friends had not seen each other in 60 years. In addition, two great-grandsons of Josephine Wheelwright Rust—the genius and power behind the design and fundraising effort that built most of the structures in the historical area—came to see their family legacy. Almost 200 people came out to be a part of the celebration.
A big thank you goes out to all who assisted with the event and all who attended. To those who could not make it, we invite you to come experience this new feature of the landscape which, with good luck, will be here for generations to come.