Kenmore

1542_signature_Kenmore.jpg
Fredericksburg, VA
United States
Kenmore

The majority of the town of Fredericksburg, Virginia, is built upon former holdings of Fielding Lewis, husband to George Washington’s sister, Betty Washington Lewis. Fielding had a Georgian mansion built for Betty, completed in 1775. Though the Kenmore estate is now a single city block, at its height it was well over 1,000 acres. The plantation was sold in 1797 and changed hands many times until 1921, when the Kenmore Association (now The George Washington Foundation) was formed to purchase and preserve the property. The only plantation buildings to survive from the Lewis era are the main house and a store near the river. In the early 1920s, Kenmore became the first major Garden Club of Virginia restoration, commissioning landscape architects Charles F. Gillette and James Greenleaf to draw plans for the garden and grounds. There are no records of Betty Lewis' garden, except for a local tradition that there were terraces on the river side of the house. Without precise archival and archaeological data, the landscape that has been created is conjectural, using precedents from contemporaneous properties in the region. The west front of the house was given a Colonial Revival tree-covered lawn with a grand circular walk, while the rear was planted to a foursquare garden edged in boxwood. Kenmore was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.