GE­ORGE WASHINGTON

One of Amer­ica’s first en­trepreneurs.

Los Angeles Times - - PARADE - —Kath­leen McCleary

F ish­ing, flour, whiskey and real es­tate are just a few of the busi­nesses run by Ge­orge Washington—he of the Con­ti­nen­tal Army, U.S. pres­i­dency, tri­corn hat and dol­lar bill. “He was al­ways ea­ger to try the latest re­forms in a sci­en­tific way,” says Dou­glas Brad­burn, found­ing di­rec­tor of the Washington Li­brary at Mount Ver­non.

Washington grew wheat on a for­mer to­bacco plan­ta­tion, built a grist­mill, in­vested in rad­i­cal new au­to­mated tech­nol­ogy for grind­ing grain (an early patent is­sued in the U.S.) and pro­duced 278,000 pounds of flour a year that he sold all over Europe. With all that grain and nearby wa­ter (the Po­tomac flowed out­side his front door), he ex­per­i­mented with whiskey—a pro­ject so suc­cess­ful he built one of Amer­ica’s largest dis­til­leries. Washington had his flops—his Dis­mal Swamp Com­pany, or­ga­nized to tame wet­lands in south­ern Vir­ginia, failed. Still, “Washington was the first pres­i­dent of Amer­ica’s first great start-up,” Brad­burn says.

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