Few historic sites in America are as well known and beloved as George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Arguably the birthplace of preservation in the United States, decisions about preservation and interpretation at Mount Vernon continue to be scrutinized in a very public manner. Even before the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association assumed ownership in the middle of the nineteenth century, such decisions could arouse strong feelings. The story of Washington’s initial resting place and the removal of his body from the badly decayed original casket to a marble sarcophagus carved by the Philadelphia marble mason John Struthers in the 1830s is one such example of how good intentions and forgetfulness combined to result in hard feelings and a significant misinterpretation of Washington’s burial site and its meaning.


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pp. 202-221
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