Mount Vernon’s Stone of Secrets

Mount Vernon’s Oldest Mystery and Newest Legend

In our third and final episode on George Washington’s Mount Vernon—and our most personal—we dive into the cellar for a centuries-old-mystery and a more modern legend. A “cornerstone” that predates Mount Vernon’s mansion was placed by George Washington in the cellar, and its true origins remain a mystery. That stone inspired a pivotal prop in the film National Treasure: Book of Secrets which in turn inspired a story (or legend?) about how the filmmakers may have wanted to alter that prop, and how the Mount Vernon team stood up to them.

Listen now:

Along the way we explore how the War of Jenkins’ Ear got its name, what the War of 1812 might have smelled like, and what happened when air conditioning came to Mount Vernon.

You can catch up on our previous Mount Vernon episodes here:
Saving Mount Vernon and Everything the Light Touches
Joe versus Mount Vernon

The LW Stone, from MountVernon.org

Original Mount Vernon map drawing for National Treasure: Book of Secrets, by Ross MacDonald


Mount Vernon ‘Secrets’ Spot Now Open” by Tracy Grant, The Washington Post
Cellar,” MountVernon.org
Nick Cage and Me” by Jack Ludwick (An Extra’s account of the filming at Mount Vernon)
Prop Man: From John Wick to Silver Linings Playbook, from Boardwalk Empire to Parks and Recreation” by Ross MacDonald and Steven Heller
BONUS: The Secret Lies with Turteltaub” and “Hunt for Washington,” National Treasure Hunt podcast

Leave a Reply