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Mount Vernon’s Mansion is perched on top of a hill that slopes down to the Potomac River, producing the dramatic and iconic view to and from the river. Due to the combination of active springs and wet weather, numerous landslides have occurred on the East Slope of the hill. The most recent landslide occurred in August 2017 and caused significant damage.

In August of 2017, severe thunderstorms centered over Mount Vernon, pummeling the estate with several inches of rain in less than an hour. Although the Mansion and historic buildings remained unharmed, the storm took its toll on the east slope, where a landslide sheared off part of the slope and damaged a large portion of the ha-ha wall overlooking the Potomac River. After the storm passed, Mount Vernon staff sprang into action to stabilize the impacted area and to put erosion control measures in place.

Current Restoration Efforts

This disaster led to a deeper investigation of the entire east slope. To determine the best long-term solution, the Mount Vernon team sought input from leading soil, civil, and structural engineers, as well as archaeologists and other experts. They studied the potential of another collapse and identified that several of Mount Vernon’s historic resources are at risk, including the Old Tomb and ice house.

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association is currently considering the findings and recommendations and evaluating the best course of action to protect George Washington’s Mansion and outbuildings.

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