The land was once a beautiful estate. It ended as a burial ground. What was intended to be a gracious home for the living became a somber haven for the dead. Few historic places in America underwent a more drastic conversion than Arlington National Cemetery.
George Washing Parke Custis, the stepgrandson and adopted son of namesake President George Washington inherited the property in 1802. Custis began building a mansion and shrine to the father he adored. He wanted to call the place “Mount Washington,” but he eventually named it “Arlington” after the family's first home in Virginia.