By Hillsdale Student Lily McHale
In January, Hillsdale College students participating in the Washington Hillsdale Internship Program (WHIP) visited Mt. Vernon – the home of President George Washington. The trip to Mt. Vernon is an annual pilgrimage for each WHIP class studying and interning in our nation’s capital in Washington D.C.
Students were given a tour of the estate and were later free to walk around the property. Some notable historical objects in the house include the key to the Bastille, a gift from the Marquis de Lafayette, a replica of Washington’s favorite meal, and a swivel chair that Washington used when sitting at his desk. The rooms were all decorated in period style and the walls were covered in art pieces that the family owned.
In addition to the beautiful house, the grounds consisted of many fields, an ornate greenhouse and garden, the stables, the storage houses, and the slave quarters. A more recent addition to the property is a memorial to the hundreds of slaves who worked for Mount Vernon throughout the years. The tribute was a gift from students at Howard University.
Junior Anayia Veremis was impressed with Washington’s dedication to agriculture.
“I didn’t know that he was so experimental with farming. He was one of the first people in the U.S. to have a greenhouse and to grow foreign plants. He experimented with crop rotation and hired highly trained gardeners from Europe to come and tend to the plants,” said Veremis.
Mount Vernon sits on the Potomac River and was built in 1734 by Washington’s father. George Washington would later inherit the coveted property in 1761, and expanded the house as well as the grounds throughout his life.
During the visit, junior Mary Greco conversed with Russian reporters who were filming a segment about Mount Vernon.
“I loved that there was a Russian News Agency there exploring why Americans value Mount Vernon so much. Because of their interest in the house, we get to share the history of one of our Founding Fathers with the world and the values that he fought for,” said Greco.