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Virginia group works to build replica of George Washington’s boyhood home

Posted at 2:36 PM, Jul 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-08 14:36:05-04

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. -- George Washington's original boyhood home is long gone. Only a trace of the foundation remains. But a group in Christiansburg is rebuilding his home by hand.

The boards aren't standard sizes and each cut is unique.

Every piece cut to fit together like a puzzle. It's for an unconventional home meant to look original.

It's a sight that hasn't been seen for about 200 years at Ferry Farm in Stafford County, but one that Blue Ridge Timberwrights in Christiansburg is rebuilding.

"This is a replica of the house George Washington spent most of his childhood in," said John Mumaw, a designer with Blue Ridge Timberwrights. "The architectural firm contacted us to bid on the project. We had worked with them previously about 25 years ago on Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest."

No screws or nails will hold up any of the 770 pieces of wood, only the jigsaw-like pieces with snug fittings will do, exactly like it was built while George Washington was living there.

It takes a special kind of wood and talented craftsmen to make it work. "That's what the architects wanted to make sure we were using is wood that is typical of what they would be doing. All the floor framing is white oak," Mumaw said.

Some of the wood is reclaimed, while other pieces are treated specially for this project.
Archaeologists found the remains of the home in 2008. The George Washington Foundation is creating an interpretive replica for tourists.

It will be shipped from Christiansburg to Stafford County some time next month.

"They'll be able to go in, there will be fires in the fireplace, they'll be able to sit down in a chair and look out the window to see what it looked like in George Washington's day," Mumaw said.