Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
Arlington National Cemetery - Washington DC Photos
George Washington Parke Custis inherited the 1100-acre estate from his father, the only surviving son of Martha Washington. Like John Parke Custis, G.W.P. Custis was raised at Mount Vernon, and he dedicated much of his life to perpetuating the memory of George Washington.
He commissioned George Hadfield, the second architect of the US Capitol to design Arlington House. It was designed in 1818, and is the third representation of Greek Revival architecture in the United States. In 1803, Custis had constructed two wings, and Hadfield's design was erected between them. The house was constructed of locally made brick and its most prominent feature is the large 16' by 52' portico across the central section. The portico is formed by eight large stuccoed and marbleized brick Doric columns that support a massive central pediment. The house, sited prominently atop the hill, can be seen from many points in the District of Columbia.
Robert E. Lee, who was related to Custis's wife, was a frequent visitor to Arlington from childhood until his marriage to Custis's only daughter, Mary. For the next 30 years, the Lees considered Arlington their home. In the Lee bedroom on April 19, 1861, Lee made his fateful decision to resign his US Army commission rather than take up arms against his native state following Virginia's secession from the Union. On April 22, he left Arlington forever.