Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Historical Home Wednesday ~ Two

For this Historical Home Wednesday I have chosen The Monticello House. The Monticello House is just not any historical home but belonged to one of our nation's great Forefather's, Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson was the our nation's 3rd President (1801-1809). Thomas Jefferson should be recognized as one of the strong pillars we owe our independence and freedom to. He fought for our independence, he suffered for our independence, and he worked hard for our independence. He was an ordinary man with extraordinary accomplishments.

Here are few examples:

  • He wrote the Declaration of Independence

  • He drafted Virgina Statute for Religious Freedom (he stated this was one of his most significant achievements.

  • He drafted a Bill for More General Diffusion of Knowledge. Jefferson quote- "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government."

  • He served as the first United States Secretary of State

  • He served as the United States Vice President

  • He doubled the size of America "Louisiana Purchase."

  • He founded the University of Virginia.

What makes the Monticello a special home is that the interior decoration reflected Thomas Jefferson's vision and ideas. He, himself, designed the house. They say it was built from the description of the books of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. It sits on a 850-foot summit in the Southwest Mountains south of the Rivanna Gap. The name, "Monticello", is Italian for "little mountain." Thomas Jefferson built his home on a hill outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. It looks over the gorgeous valley.

Did you know that the U.S. had a two-dollar bill in circuit? We did, from 1928 to 1966. And the Monticello appeared on the back. The current bill was discontinued. However, a current bill, in 1976, retains with Jefferson's portrait (painted by John Trumbull). You can pick up these dollar bills at the gift shop at Monticello.

Historians believe the construction of the house began in 1768.Jefferson moved into the outbuilding "South Pavilion" in 1770. When Jefferson was serving as Minister of the United States to France, he had an opportunity to see some of the gorgeous architect. He admired them greatly and soon began changing the design of the Monticello. The renovating continued throughout his presidency (1801-1809).

Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, and Monticello was inherited by his eldest daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph. Due to financial difficulties led Martha to sell her father's beloved Monticello to James T. Barclay, a local apothecary, in 1831. Barclay sold it in 1834 to Uriah P. Levy, the first Jewish American to serve an entire career as a commissioned officer in the United States Navy. Levy greatly admired Jefferson. During the American Civil War, the house was seized by the Confederate government and sold, though Uriah Levy's estate recovered it after the war.

Today the house is owned by a non-profit organization, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. They purchased the home with funds raised to not only purchase the property but also restore the house to the original touches. The Monticello is the only private home in the U.S. that has been designated as a World Heritage site. The World Heritage Site also includes the original grounds of Jefferson's University of Virginia.


GamecockQueen said...

Oh goodness, that's just gorgeous, isn't it? For a minute I wanted to say I've been there, but after looking at the pics more carefully I'm pretty sure it was another historical home in VA that I went to. It was in 8th grade so the memories are a little fuzzy. :-)

Trish said...

Hi Gigi! What a fabulous post full of so many gorgeous pictures and fun history facts! I love your idea of doing historical home features once a week, you are really good at it, I wish I knew half of all the fun architecture and history knowledge you have! This estate is amazing, I haven't been in about 10 years but I need to go again for sure. The campus of UVA reminds me so much of Thomas Jefferson's home. Don't you love the meaning, "little mountain?"

I wonder if you had a favorite room in Monticello? :) xoxox

midnight macaroons said...

My favorite room would be a toss between his Bedchamber or Parlor. However, the entire house is so gorgeous it's hard to settle on just one room.