In 1930, nearly two centuries after the birth of George Washington, Congress designated 394 acres along Popes Creek in Westmoreland County, Va., as the George Washington Birthplace National Monument. This act was a fitting culmination to the preservation efforts of a number of public-spirited organizations and individuals, dating back to 1815 when George Washington Parke Custis marked the birthplace site, then in ruins, with a stone slab.
The monument today is the product of almost four decades of development and operation by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, in cooperation with the Wakefield National Memorial Association. Where once there were only the ancient Washington cemetery, a granite shaft, and a handful of buried foundations, there are now a Memorial House, built by the association on the approximate site of the original birthplace house, a colonial-style kitchen, landscaped grounds, assorted visitor facilities, and an extensive artifact collection. And each year almost 100,000 persons visit these historic grounds.
Much has been accomplished in the past. Much more remains to be done if the National Park Service is effectively to fulfill its commitment to commemorate the birth and early boyhood of George Washington and to present the story of his formative years against the background influences of his family, his region, and his times.
This master plan is a generalized statement, subject to revision from time to time, that will guide the preservation, development, use, interpretation, and administration of the National Monument and assure continuity of purpose and effort.
Last Updated: 2009