A Master Plan for George Washington Birthplace National Monument, Virginia
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George Washington Birthplace National Monument is located on Virginia's Northern Neck, the peninsula formed by the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers as they flow into Chesapeake Bay. This is typical tidewater country. The land is low and flat. Branches unite to form creeks which often spread into marshlands as they near the river. At its tip, the peninsula is barely 25 miles wide from river to river. The monument lies some 40 miles upriver from the bay, at a point where the neck narrows to about 8 miles.

The Northern Neck is still predominately a rural area and retains much of an 18th-century atmosphere. Its towns and settlements are small, and there are no large industries. But for years its waters, beaches, and historic sites have attracted the traveling public. All of the neck is within easy driving distance of Baltimore, Md., Washington, D.C., Richmond, Va., and a host of cities and towns in between. Although tourism has so far spurred only a limited amount of development, it is still the Northern Neck's main source of income.

The view over Popes Creek has changed little since Washington's day.

The edge of Popes Creek.

A patchwork of fields, marshes, scattered survivors of the original forest, and a mature second growth of mixed hardwoods and pines compose the monument. George Washington's birthplace stood on a promontory overlooking Popes Creek. Standing there today, on the highest ground in the monument, the visitor has a commanding view over the same waters.

Still waters mirror the marshland along Popes Creek, a scene which for visual and historical reasons should remain unchanged.

The gravestone of John Washington, founder of the family in Virginia and great-grandfather of George.

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Last Updated: 16-Apr-2010