Northern Virginia Sights



Woodlawn Review

This plantation home was once part of the Mount Vernon estate, and from here you can still see the trees of the bowling green that fronted Washington's home. The mansion was built for Martha Washington's granddaughter, Nelly Custis, who married George Washington's nephew, Lawrence Lewis.

Completed in 1805, Woodlawn was designed by William Thornton, a physician and amateur architect who drew up the original plans for the U.S. Capitol and designed Tudor Place and the Octagon House in Washington, DC. Built on a site selected by George Washington, the mansion has commanding views of the surrounding countryside and the Potomac River beyond. In the tradition of mansions form this period, Woodlawn has a central passage that provides a cool refuge in summer.

Woodlawn was once a plantation where more than 100 people, most of them slaves, lived and worked. Guides explain about how the family entertained and architectural details of the house.

Also on the grounds of Woodlawn is the Pope-Leighey House. One of Frank Lloyd Wright's "Usonian" homes, the structure was built in 1940 as part of the architect's mission to create affordable housing. It was moved here from Falls Church, Virginia, in 1964, to save it from destruction during the building of Route 66. By design a small and sparsely furnished home, Pope-Leighey provides a stark contrast to Woodlawn.

    Contact Information

  • Address: 9000 Richmond Hwy., Alexandria, VA 22309 | Map It
  • Phone: 703/780–4000
  • Cost: $8.50 each for Woodlawn and Pope-Leighey House, combination ticket $15
  • Hours: Mar.–Dec., Thurs.–Mon. 10–5; tours begin every half hr for each house; last tour at 4
  • Website:
  • Location: Woodlawn
Updated: 06-05-2013

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