Named Kenmore by a later owner, this house was built in 1775 on a 1,300-acre plantation owned by Colonel Fielding Lewis, a patriot, merchant, and brother-in-law of George Washington. Lewis sacrificed his fortune to operate a gun factory and otherwise supply General Washington's forces during the Revolutionary War. As a result, his debts forced his widow to sell the home following his death. The outstanding plaster moldings in the ceilings and over the fireplace in the dining room are even more ornate than those at Mount Vernon. It's believed that the artisan responsible for them worked frequently in both homes, though his name is unknown, possibly because he was an indentured servant. A multiyear renovation returned the grand house to its original state. It is interesting to note that the walls vary in thickness: 36 inches in the basement, 24 inches on the ground floor, and 18 inches upstairs. Guided 45-minute architectural tours of the home are conducted by docents; the subterranean Crowningshield Museum on the grounds displays Kenmore's collection of fine Virginia-made furniture and family portraits as well as changing exhibits on Fredericksburg life.
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