Place

The Birthplace Monument

The Birthplace Monument
An illustration of the Birthplace Monument

NPS image

Quick Facts
In 1896, just eleven years after the completion of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., the United States War Department placed an obelisk as a monument at the believed site of George Washington's birthhouse. 

The Monument stood 55 feet tall, almost exactly 1/10th the size of the monument in Washington D.C. To protect the monument, it was surrounded by an iron ornamental fence and a gate.

For thirty years, thousands of travelers paid their respects to the First President by visiting the monument. In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt noted, "...I spent about four hours ashore, taking [my] lunch and walking up to the monument which marks where the house stood in which Washington was born. It was a simple shaft."

In the late-1920s, the Wakefield National Memorial Association formed to commemorate the landscape at George Washington's birthplace. The group decided to build a house as a memorial to Washington on the same spot where the Monument stood. 

Therefore, in 1931, the Monument was taken down. It was transported 400 yards and reinstalled at the park entrance. The Monument is now the first landmark that visitors to the park see. 

Last updated: December 20, 2020