J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

“Washington’s Old Headquarters” in Richmond

This detail from a postcard in Virginia Commonwealth University’s library collection shows a gentleman outside “Washington’s Old Headquarters” in Richmond, Virginia. That’s a stone house built in 1754. Here’s the same house in a photo from the Library of Congress.

As the latest issue of Colonial Williamsburg magazine explains in its “Then and Now” series, Gen. George Washington never actually used Richmond’s oldest standing house as his headquarters. He never seems to have been there in any capacity. And other myths surrounding the house are equally bogus. (Also check out the series entry on “Martha Washington’s Kitchen.”)

In our more enlightened time, the old stone building is now Richmond’s Museum of Edgar Allan Poe. Of course, Poe never lived or worked in the house, either. But as a fifteen-year-old military school cadet, Poe once stood near the house in an honor guard for Lafayette.


Hugh Harrington said...

Thanks for exposing yet another myth. Our history is full of them yet so many people accept the myths and legends as truth perhaps because of the power of "I saw it in print." There is no substitute for actual research. Thanks for the reminder!

Bill Welsch said...

Thanks for mentioning Richmond. There's much great Revolutionary War history here. And the Poe Museum is excellent, even if George and Edgar never stayed there.

Bill Welsch