‘Acres Made Sacred': Ferry Farm, the Cherry Tree, and the Manipulation of Memory

  • In my undergraduate thesis, I examined the history of Ferry Farm, George Washington’s Boyhood Home in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the twentieth-century efforts to preserve, interpret, and capitalize on the site. Focusing on three periods of significance—the 1932 bicentennial of Washington’s birthday, the 1960s boys’ home at Ferry Farm, and the 1996 fight against a proposed Wal-Mart on the site—I argued that Ferry Farm is more defined by those who have used the site for their own purposes than by Washington’s childhood there. Repeating Parson Weems’ cherry tree and other legends, Americans throughout the twentieth century have used Ferry Farm to speak to their own times, manipulating Washington memory to communicate their own vision for America’s future.

American Studies:

Historic Preservation: