Friday, July 4th, 2008
So Washington didn’t chop down a cherry tree and boldly refuse to cover it up, and it seems like the tales of his abject poverty were equally fictional.
In fact, he lived with his family in a spacious (for the time) 8 room, 1 1/2 story house. The house was demolished in the early 19th c., but archaeologists have found parts of the foundation, chimneys and stone-lined cellars, enough to determine the home’s original size and floorplan.
From sections of foundation stones, the bases of two chimneys and remains of four cellars, the archaeologists determined the dimensions of the main house, a rectangle 53 by 37 feet, not counting the separate kitchen. Other evidence from debris indicated that the house had a clapboard facade and wooden roof shingles.
Mark Wenger, an architectural historian for Ferry Farm, said the house appeared to have had a central hallway with front rooms and back rooms on each side and possibly three rooms upstairs under the slope of the roof. The front rooms faced on the river, which in those days was navigable to large sailing ships.
“It was a very nice gentry house,” Mr. Wenger said, at a time when most people made do with houses of only one or two rooms.
They found some groovy geegaws, too, like a pipe engraved with a Masonic symbol (Washington was a mason, so it might have been his) and wig curlers. He he… Washington put his wigs in curlers.
Happy Fourth of July!