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Front view of Gen. George C. Marshall House
Photograph courtesy of Scenic America: Deborah L. Myerson

Before General of the Army George Catlett Marshall, Jr. (1880-1959) could retreat to the home he purchased in 1941 for his retirement, he served as Army chief of staff during World War II, secretary of state, secretary of defense and president of the American Red Cross. Marshall is perhaps best known as the architect of the post-World War II 1947 European Recovery Program, known as the Marshall Plan, which launched the restoration of Europe's economy.

Marshall made his home at this gracious Federal house from 1941 until his death in 1959. During these years, Marshall rose from a respected army officer to one of the 20th century's most influential figures. The achievement of the Marshall Plan made him the first career soldier awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Located in the Leesburg Historic District, the brick country house was built in the 1820s, and additions were made several times over the years. It served as a school in the 1850s before passing through various private hands. Marshall bought it for $16,000--it was the first home he and his wife ever owned--and named it for the Greek oracle, Dodona, who spoke from the top of the kind of oak trees that proliferate on the 3.92-acre estate.

General Marshall and Family in front of Dodona Manor
Photograph courtesy of The George C. Marshall International Center at Dodona Manor

General Marshall's favorite pastime was being an in-town gentleman farmer, tending to a large vegetable plot and flower garden. Other than establishing this extensive garden, Marshall made few changes here. All the furnishings belonged to the Marshalls, but "it's nothing to write home about," according to William Seale, the architectural historian and historic-interiors specialist in charge of the early phases of an ongoing 10-year renovation project. The George C. Marshall International Center is restoring the house and its surrounding acreage to their late 1940s-1950s appearance. Indeed, one of the best reasons for visiting Dodona Manor currently is to inspect the architectural restoration work underway.

The General George C. Marshall House is located at 217 Edwards Ferry Rd., in Leesburg. A National Historic Landmark, the property is open to the public for tours on Saturdays from 10:00am to 5:00pm, Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00pm and during the month of June, July, and August also on Mondays from 1:00 to 5:00pm. Our last tour begins at 4:00pm. There is a fee for admission. For further information call 703-777-1301 or visit the website.


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