John D. Rockefeller, Jr. is well known for being a major benefactor for the renovation of Colonial Williamsburg in the 1920s and 1930s. In contrast, few people are aware of his contributions to the creation of George Washington Birthplace National Monument.
The Wakefield National Memorial Association approached Rockefeller for funding to develop the historic area of the park. In turn, Rockefeller purchased 267 acres for $115,000. He held the land in trust for the Association as they raised sufficient funds for the project.
Days before George Washington Birthplace was created as a National Monument on January 23, 1930, Rockefeller turned over the land to the Association. Almost half of today's park acreage was donated by Rockefeller.
The large white barn in the Historic Area of the park is named the Rockefeller Barn, acknowledging his charitable gift to the Association and the National Park Service.
In 1932, Horace M. Albright, the Director of the National Park Service, wrote Rockefeller:
"Your public spirited and far-sighted action...to maintain and develop for posterity the birthplace of George Washington as a great national shrine is...[a fine thing.] I am confident [that]...this will be more and more appreciated by the people of the country..."
Last updated: June 19, 2020