Woodlawn, 9000 Richmond Highway, Mount Vernon, Fairfax County, VA
Significance: Notable Georgian/Federal 5-part house, designed by William Thornton, architect of the United States Capitol. Woodlawn was built on part of the Mount Vernon estate for George Washington's adopted granddaughter, Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis and her husband, Lawrence Lewis, who was George Washington's nephew. A Federal era dwelling, c. 1800-1805, Woodlawn was designed by William Thornton for Lawrence and Eleanor Custis Lewis. A central block with a jerkinhead roof is flanked symmetrically by hyphens, wings and dependencies. The site was selected by George Washington from his Dogue Run Farm, part of some 2,000 acres of the Mount Vernon estate willed to the Lewis couple in 1799. Lewis was Washington's nephew, Eleanor (Nelly) Custis, Martha Washington's granddaughter and Washington's ward. The mansion was an important social center, visited by Lafayette, Robert E. Lee, President Andrew Jackson and other notables. After an 1846-51 period as a local center for Quaker settlement, the mansion was purchased by John Mason of New Hampshire. During his ownership, 1851-92, it became a pro-union center of free labor, education and scientific farming. Purchased after Mason's death for use as a trolley company tourist facility, Woodlawn fell into partial ruin because of the company's financial difficulties. Playwright Paul Kester rescued it in 1901, restored the center block, and raised and enlarged the wings. Kester sold to Elizabeth Sharpe in 1905. She rebuilt the wings in 1915-1916 using fabric from the original wings and brick and detail acquired from Alexandria and Fredericksburg houses and 1907 Jamestown Exposition buildings. Architects Edward W. Donn, Jr. and Waddy B. Wood were employed in the rebuilding. Wood designed additional hyphen and wing changes for Senator Oscar Underwood who occupied the mansion from 1925 until his death in 1929. The house remained in Underwood ownership to 1948 when it was acquired by the Woodlawn Public Foundation. Ownership passed to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1957. The first historic house museum operated by the Trust, Woodlawn remains substantially as acquired.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: FN-149, FN-150, FN-151, FN-152, FN-153, FN-154, FN-155, FN-156, FN-157, FN-158, FN-159, FN-160
Survey number: HABS VA-337
Building/structure dates: 1805 Initial Construction
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 70000792