Lee Plantation Slave Dwelling / Laundry (Shuter's Hill)

Historical Significance

The first European settlers to inhabit Shuter's Hill were the Mills family. John Mills, a merchant, constructed the first known historical residence on the property in 1781. His plantation relied on the labor of nine enslaved African Americans.  The Ludwell Lees lived in a plantation located on Shuter's Hill from 1786 to 1799. This compound included a laundry building. The enslaved individuals belonging to the Lee family probably lived and worked in the laundry structure. Numerous buttons, thimbles, needles, pins, a lead hole seal for a bolt of cloth, food remains, ceramics, and a bone hair comb were discovered during the City of Alexandria's archaeological excavations. Research is ongoing to learn more about the African Americans who lived and worked here.

Physical Description

The laundry was described on an insurance map in 1797 as "built of wood, one story high, 16 by 16 feet." A brick pier support for a porch and brick patio has also been discovered. The historic residences on the hill burned and in 1900 a golf course was laid out on the property. In 1922, the George Washington Masonic National Memorial purchased much of land in this area in order to build a monument to Washington. The excavations took place on the grounds of the Masonic memorial.

Geographical and Contact Information

101 Callahan Drive
Alexandria, Virginia
22301
Phone: 703-683-2007/703-838-6491

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Lee Plantation Slave Dwelling / Laundry (Shuter's Hill),” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed March 30, 2017, http://aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/245.

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