Tour of Woodlawn and Pope-Leighey House

  • September 14, 2013 · 12:30 PM

Woodlawn History
Woodlawn, the first site operated by the National Trust, was part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon. In 1799, he gave the site to his nephew, Lawrence Lewis, and Lewis’ new bride, Eleanor “Nelly” Parke Custis, Martha’s granddaughter, in hopes of keeping Nelly close to Mount Vernon. The newly-married couple built the Georgian/Federal house designed by William Thornton, architect of the U.S. Capitol.

In 1846, the entire plantation was sold to Quaker timber merchants, who purposefully operated the farm plantation with free labor, making a statement in Virginia on the eve of the Civil War.

At the turn of the twentieth century, two separate owners, Paul Kester and Elizabeth Sharpe, lovingly restored the property using the best Colonial Revival architects and builders. Senator Oscar Underwood from Alabama, an uncompromising advocate for civil rights, lived at the mansion from 1925 until his death in 1929.

Operated as a historic house museum since 1949, Woodlawn is an interesting case-study of the cultural relevance of the house museum.

Pope-Leighey House History
During the 1930s, Frank Lloyd Wright set his formidable attention towards designing affordable middle-class residences. More than 100 of these modest homes, referred to as Usonian, thought to mean “the United States of North America,” were constructed between 1936 and Wright’s death in 1959, including the Pope-Leighey house (1940). Commissioned in 1939 by Loren Pope, a journalist in Falls Church, the residence was sold to Robert and Marjorie Leighey in 1946. The house was in the path of an expansion of Highway 66, so in an effort to preserve the building, Mrs. Leighey gave the property to the National Trust, which relocated it to nearby Woodlawn and granted her lifetime tenancy. Mrs. Leighey occupied the house at Woodlawn, until her death in 1983. Unusually, the house required a second move due to the instability of the clay soil, and was relocated about thirty feet up the hill in 1995-96.

We will take a tour of both houses beginning at 1:00. More info to follow on that.

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  • kerri

    Love playing tourist in my own back yard. Great seeing everyone.

    September 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    It was very nice. The tour guides were very informative and willing to answer any questions. This was my first event with the group, and I really enjoyed meeting and spending the afternoon with them.

    September 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks again, Gail! It was very nice meeting you all.

    September 14, 2013

  • Sheila

    Perfect day and a wonderful group of people.

    September 14, 2013

  • Jeanette

    Beautiful day and very interesting places to tour. Thank you Gail for putting together this get-together.

    September 14, 2013

  • Gail B.

    If anyone has any trouble finding us, call me at[masked], but I will turn the phone off once the tour starts. So try and be there before 1. If you miss us, try and take the next tour or meet us at 2 for the Pope-Leighey house and then you can go back and do Woodlawn after.

    September 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry been ill this week and will not make the tours, to my disappointment. Intend to be at Rippon Landing event.

    September 14, 2013

  • Gail B.

    Note the info from the mansion regarding entrance and meeting place: Our entrance has changed due to the construction on Route 1. Our entrance is now at a stoplight at Woodlawn Road. If you’re coming South on Route 1, you’ll pass our old entrance (where there is a orange sign telling you the entrance moved to Woodlawn Road) and our driveway is the next right at the stoplight. If you’re coming North on Route 1 you’ll pass by the entrance for Fort Belvoir and take a left at the light for Woodlawn Road. When you arrive, drive all the way down our drive to the parking lot and walk over to the gift shop at Woodlawn.

    September 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm new here, but would be interested in going. How do I go about this?

    September 12, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I got it. Thanks. I'll see you all then. I am happy to find you all. I've been looking for something like this.

      September 12, 2013

  • Gail B.

    We're touring the manor at 1:00 and the Pope-Leighey house at 2:00. Plan to get there early so you don't miss us. Let's plan closer to 12:30 at the manor house.

    September 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Just toured both of these recently.

    August 15, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Did you enjoy both sites?

      September 8, 2013

  • kerri

    Do we have to pay through meetup or can we pay on-site? been a while since I've done anything with the group so I'm not sure of the current practice.

    August 30, 2013

    • Gail B.

      Pay through the group so we can keep it all straight as to who's going.

      August 30, 2013

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Rafaël

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

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