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Gorgeous George


By Polly Sparling



With his noble demeanor and piercing gaze focused on the middle distance, George Washington certainly looks every inch the president. But this finely carved visage of our Founding Father — which stands at the intersection of two well-traveled roads — begs the question: What is he looking at?


As it turns out, it’s a house. A grand, almost-300-year-old house, the oldest home in the county in which it’s located. Washington and other notable figures — including the Marquis de Lafayette — often visited this home during the Revolution. The house is named after its owner, an unmarried widow (unheard-of at that time) who raised three sons and ran several successful businesses. Today, the property is a popular historic site owned by a local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.


So how did General George end up in the street? In 1999, the local DAR purchased this bust in remembrance of the bicentennial of Washington’s death, says Denise VanBuren, the chapter’s regent at the time. The statue was erected two blocks away from the house, she says, on an empty triangle of land that once held a large tree “that was hit by lightning or diseased, and had come down.” Currently, the bust faces north, toward the homestead. But according to VanBuren, “plans are in the works to redesign the intersection so that he can face east.” Which means he’ll be looking at yet another familiar site: the important promontory on which signal fires were often lit during the war.


So, for all you history buffs, a three-part question: In which town is Washington located? What is the name of the historic house he now looks toward? And which peak will he soon be eyeing once again? Think you know? E-mail us at edit@hvmag.com. The first person to answer all three parts of the question correctly gets a small prize. Good luck! 

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