By Noah Abbe
George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate is included on a list of the 11 most endangered historic sites in America, it was announced at a Tuesday press conference held at the estate. The ranking comes as Dominion Energy has unveiled plans to construct a compressor station in Maryland that Mount Vernon representatives believe will be directly visible from the Mount Vernon estate across the Potomac River.
Speaking at the press conference were Doug Bradburn, President and CEO of George Washington’s Mount Vernon; Sarah Miller Coulson, Head of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association; and Stephanie K. Meeks, CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Coulson began the conference with an address to her fellow members of the Ladies Association, who were asked to rise and be recognized.
“We consider the protection of Washington’s home, tomb, and viewshed as nothing less than sacred and moral responsibility,” Coulson told the press.
Bradburn echoed Coulson’s sentiment, referring to the landscape as a “sacred view,” and saying, “There is no size of compressor station that we would be happy with in this rural area.”
Bradburn also expressed concern that the compressor station would have detrimental effects on its surroundings and may lead to further industrial development around it.
“Dominion can’t guarantee that this development will not lead to more,” Bradburn said. “They can move the station. We can’t move Mount Vernon.”
He noted that the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, which has fought for maintaining the historic view of the Potomac River for decades, was not consulted on the matter of constructing a compressor station across from the estate.
Meeks implored the audience to take action in support of Mount Vernon to ensure that “today’s historical treasure” does not become “tomorrow’s regret.”
Immediately prior to the press conference on Tuesday, the petition to save Washington’s Historic View had received 4,204 signatures. In the hours following the conference, it garnered significantly more signatures. The petition had increased to more than 15,000 signatures as of Wednesday evening.