The five-part mansion at Woodlawn Plantation was completed in 1806 on a site (in Fairfax County’s Woodlawn Cultural Landscapes Historic District) overlooking lands formerly part of Mount Vernon. Woodlawn Plantation was the wedding gift of George Washington to Eleanor Parke (“Nelly”) Custis and her husband, Lawrence Lewis, respectively Washington’s ward and nephew. Attributed to architect William Thornton, the crisply detailed, beautifully-crafted mansion displays the elegance and refinement so admired in the Federal style. Woodlawn eventually fell into disrepair and was acquired by a group of Quakers in 1846. Later owned by Baptists, Woodlawn was part of the Underground Railroad. In the early 20th century Elizabeth Sharpe engaged architect Edward W. Donn, Jr. to rebuild the wings and hyphens. Senator and Mrs. Oscar Underwood of Alabama lived here before its acquisition in 1948 by the Woodlawn Public Foundation. Now owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Woodlawn is a museum and center for historical studies.
Fort Belvoir transferred 2.82 acres of open lawn with some young trees and shrubbery to the Woodlawn Plantation property. The tract had been originally part of Woodlawn Plantation, and this increase of the register boundaries reconnects Woodlawn to the nearby Woodlawn Quaker Meetinghouse.
[VLR Listed: 9/22/2011; NRHP Listed: 11/18/2011]
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark