Harewood, whose name derives from an English term for the sycamore tree, is the oldest and most famous of Jefferson County’s Washington estates and the only one that remains in family ownership. Standing some three miles west of Charles Town, on the southern side of State Route 51, Harewood now presides over 264 acres of field and pasture.
The stately limestone manor was built by Samuel Washington, whose brother, George, recorded in his diary on September 1, 1770, that ‘‘Samuel and his wife set out [from Mount Vernon] in my chariot for his house.’’ This, the first known reference to Harewood, can be considered its date of completion.
Architecturally, Harewood is West Virginia’s finest expression of formal 18th century Georgian architecture. In all likelihood master builder John Ariss, who lived and worked in the area, was responsible for the five-part Palladian design. Although the northern wing and the section connecting it to the main block were not constructed until 1961–62, they match their original southern counterparts. The paneled drawing room is graced by a marble mantel, probably given by Lafayette to George Washington, and later installed at Harewood.
After Samuel Washington’s death, Harewood became the home of his son, George Steptoe Washington, who was married to Lucy Payne. In 1794, her sister, Dolley Payne Todd, married James Madison in the house. Portraits of many Washingtons, including Samuel, look down from walls beautifully maintained by the present generation of their family.
Read the National Register of Historic Places nomination.
This Article was written by S. Allen Chambers Jr.
Last Revised on January 28, 2013