The Virginian-Pilot
                             THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT 
              Copyright (c) 1997, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: Wednesday, February 19, 1997          TAG: 9702190363
SECTION: FRONT                   PAGE: A5   EDITION: FINAL 
                                            LENGTH:   45 lines


The boyhood home of George Washington, threatened last year with becoming the site of a Wal-Mart, will instead be protected and restored, its new owners say.

That promise comes from Vernon Edenfield, executive director of Kenmore Plantation and Gardens in Fredericksburg. The group has taken possession of the 71-acre property there, known as Ferry Farm.

Edenfield announced the start of a fund-raising drive for the Ferry Farm renewal project in ceremonies Monday, acknowledging a $100,000 gift from Target Stores, a Wal-Mart competitor.

After a months-long dispute that sparked protests from historians and preservationists nationwide, Wal-Mart withdrew its plan late last year and decided to build its store elsewhere in the Fredericksburg area.

A Colonial town on the Rappahannock River 50 miles south of Washington, Fredericksburg was the site of a major Civil War battle. Over the last 20 years, commercial and residential development have diminished the historic character of the region.

Ferry Farm was where the young Washington may have thrown a silver dollar across the Rappahannock - not the Potomac - and supposedly chopped down (but probably didn't) one of his father's cherry trees.

The farm occupies a high bluff and runs along 4,000 feet of the river shore. The family had a ferry operation there and also a nearby iron forge.

Edenfield's organization hopes to have much of the Ferry Farm restoration project under way or completed by 1999, the 200th anniversary of Washington's death.

The farm, originally 600 acres, was Washington's home from 1738 to 1753, when he moved at age 21 to the Mount Vernon area to seek his fortune as a surveyor and militia officer.

Unlike Mount Vernon and other Washington shrines and sites, Ferry Farm was allowed to fall into disrepair. Gradually, bits and pieces of the land were sold off until only 71 acres remained in 1990. The main house was pulled down before 1830 but its foundations and some period outbuildings remain. ILLUSTRATION: Map


by CNB