George Clark's Room and Summer Kitchen


A Home without a Family
George Clark, the cook, and Ephraim Derricks, the valet and gardener, lived in this room. Although both men were married, their wives did not live on the estate, a common reality for enslaved families. The heat from the kitchen warmed this space in the winter, but made it unbearable in the hot, humid Virginia summer.

Culinary Traditions
Below is the summer kitchen. Despite its name, this kitchen was used year-round. Here, three to six enslaved workers prepared meals for the Custis-Lee family and their guests. Enslaved workers likely planned their cooking around the daylight hours. Cooking at plantations like Arlington House required specialized culinary knowledge, and cooks used techniques and flavors passed down from Africa. Traditions such as slow-cooking and deep-frying forged in plantation kitchens have greatly influenced American cooking.

According to family tradition, Arlington cook George Clark was born at Mount Vernon and may have worked in the kitchen there before coming to Arlington.

Arlington House First Floor Floorplan
First Floor
North Slave Quarters Museum Exhibit    Miss Judy's Quarters    Portico    Bath and Water Closet    Outer Hall Pantry    Inner Hall    Dining Room    Store Room    White Parlor    Hunting Hall    Conservatory    School Room    Morning Room    Family Parlor    Guest Chamber    Custis Bedchamber    Center Hall    Office and Studio    Selina Gray's Quarters    Summer Kitchen / George Clark's Quarters    South Slave Quarters museum exhibit    Smokehouse

Last updated: June 17, 2021

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Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
700 George Washington Memorial Parkway
c/o Turkey Run Park

McLean , VA 22101


(703) 235-1530

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