On a hillside overlooking
Washington D.C. stands Arlington House. This 19th-century mansion seems
out of place amid the more than 250,000 military graves that stretch out
around it. The mansion was built by George Washington Park Custis, who
intended it as a treasury of Washington heirlooms. The original design
was by George Hadfield, a young English architect who was for a time in
charge of the consturction of the Capitol building. The north and south
wings of the house were completed between 1802 and 1804. The large center
section and the portico, 140 feet long, were finished 13 years later.
Today it is preserved as a memorial to Robert E. Lee who lived there with
his family when the Civil War began.