- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 22, 2005

LEESBURG, Va. — Gen. George C. Marshall’s bedroom window looks over a dirt patch where his prized vegetable garden used to be, and another spot where his wife’s rose garden was kept.

In his office, his lunchbox-sized typewriter sits on a desk pushed up against the back wall and centered in front of a window that provides another view of the roughly four acres that surround Dodona Manor.

Anyone looking out that window or sitting at that desk 10 years ago would have been able to see only overgrown plants and trees, and would have been inside a house with some structural damage, where the wallpaper had fallen off and most of the furniture had rotted or been badly damaged.

But a four-phase, multimillion-dollar renovation undertaken by the George C. Marshall Center took care of all that, as the group opened up the home — and with it parts of Gen. Marshall’s seemingly very private, simple life — to the public early this month.

“There have been many times when I’ve said, ‘I know you don’t want us to do this,’ because he was a very modest man,” Marshall Center Director Anne Horstman said, referencing a bust of the general that sits in her tight office. “We will use this house as a means to showcase a remarkable figure of the 20th century, who did remarkable things for the world.”

The list of Gen. Marshall’s government posts and achievements is an impressive one.

During World War II, as a five-star general of the Army, he was the highest ranking member of the U.S. military and was considered the principal American military architect of the Allied victory.

Then there’s secretary of state, secretary of defense, his post-World War II European economic recovery program that became known simply as the “Marshall Plan” and winner of the 1953 Nobel Peace Prize.

Built in 1786 by one of George Washington’s nephews, Dodona Manor is a reminder of a time when Leesburg was the countryside, rather than another suburb 40 miles northwest of the District.

Its restoration began in 1999 and shows off a fashionable simplicity.

Gen. Marshall’s lightly painted bedroom has little clutter, little furniture and a single bed tucked in the corner along the far wall.

Getting the house where Gen. Marshall lived from 1941 until his death in 1959 to a point where the public can view it has been a challenge.

Dodona Manor opened to the public for the first time during the weekend of Dec. 3

and the next two weekends. It will close for the holidays and be open every weekend starting Jan. 7.

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