Revolutionary War general, father of our country, cherry-tree murderer. Many descriptions come to mind when we invoke the name of George Washington.
Real estate mogul isn’t one of them. But it should be.
At the tender age of 15, Washington became a professional land surveyor and cartographer, a short-lived career that would have a long-term influence on his destiny. Among his earliest jobs, he laid out the subdivision plan for Alexandria, Va., adding “urban planner” to his résumé. By the time he quit to join the Virginia colonial militia a few years later, he had surveyed some 66,000 acres of land and traversed most of what would become the original 13 United States.
Walking the land seemed to whet his appetite for owning it. He learned to assess property and poured his earnings into buying tracts of land near and far. By the time he was 21, he owned 1,558 acres of land purchased from his earnings as a surveyor. By the time he died, Washington was one of the country’s wealthiest landowners.