A few days ago, instead of having our regular post-breakfast argument, my wife and I actually agreed that there was a visually repulsive clear-cutting operation going on over near the Mount Vernon Estate. I am talking about the construction of the new “Fred Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington” which requires the destruction of dozens and dozens of historic trees (tests confirmed that George regularly marked his territory on them).
For the record, I never went to any of the public meetings hosted by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association and I’ve never met any of those “ladies.” So, I never saw the actual plans for the library. I do recall seeing some sketches in the newspapers and if there was anything in Patch I didn’t see it because I don’t read Patch. And I knew that trees had to be sacrificed. But, for Pete’s sake, have you seen what’s going on over there? It looks like Hiroshima! Have you seen the construction pit and the piles and piles of trees ready to be carted off?
Look, I know that the Ladies' Association owns all of the property and they can basically do what they want. We certainly learned that a few years ago when they tore down a bunch of trees on the other side of that same road during the construction of the new parking lot. And, yes, they hosted some meetings but…
I live in the very fashionable adjoining neighborhood called Wessynton and I know some folks went to some of the meetings. And none of them came back screaming about all the potential destruction. Maybe that’s because we here in Wessytnon (and perhaps others in other neighborhoods) as used to the Estate getting its way, despite our protests. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if we soon saw a proposal for the “George Washington Cock Fight Stadium” commemorating that popular sport of the day. The point is that, yes, I elected to live near Mount Vernon, but Washington’s shadow seems to be getting bigger and bigger all the time.
So, since we can’t stop it, I think ole George owes his neighbors something for continuing to encroach on our lives.
The library plans show a beautiful, serene spot for Washington scholars. It looks like a place where one could have a quiet lunch or just take a nice walk. So, what if the Ladies' Association gave each resident in the adjoining neighborhoods a lifetime pass so we could access the grounds? Wouldn’t it be nice to walk over there, take a book and just soak in the essence of Washington? I mean, it’s not like a hundred people would show up at one time. Indeed, I doubt they’d get 20 people in one week.
In fact, why don’t we get one lifetime pass each for the estate itself? Us walking on their property does not cost them a dime and we would probably spend money at their restaurant and gift shop, so a “free” pass would get them more revenue, right? I just think it would be a nice “neighborly” gesture, one that GW himself would have approved of.
So, “Ladies,” why not think about it? And we promise not to pee on the trees.