Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

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the man Jefferson himself

I recently had to travel to northern Virginia for work. The nearest airport to my destination with non – 5am flight options happened to be Charlottesville which is the location of Thomas Jefferson’s home Monticello. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see Monticello being that close so I arranged my flights to get there early enough to visit. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get there early enough to see more than the house but at least I saw it.

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No pictures are allowed in the home itself so this post will be light on pictures. The above is the main entrance where you start the tour. For 200+ years old there’s a surprising amount of the original glass and wood, north of 60% in both cases. The main porch has a large clock that was audible over most of the plantation to make sure everyone who aware of the time to the hour. The weather vane that you can see on top is connected to an indicator underneath the porch that can be seen from 5 rooms in the house. Jefferson always wanted to know which way the wind was blowing.

Inside the entrance is a room full of memorabilia from Jefferson’s time as president including artifacts from the Lewis and Clark expedition, some original and some reproduction. There’s also a clock designed by Jefferson that keeps not only hours minutes and seconds but the days of the week. The ceiling is only high enough to accommodate 5 days of the week so there are holes cut in the floor for the weights and the other two days are in the basement.

Jefferson’s library and quarters contain his second book collection after he sold the first to start the library of Congress. It also includes the polygraph he used to make copies of every letter he ever wrote. An interesting feature of the house is the large windows and skylights with strategically placed mirrors to make maximum use of natural light. Being accustomed to modern houses it was quite shocking to see a house that brightly lit inside with no electric lights.

The next stop was an octagonal bedroom often occupied by James and Dolly Madison. Octagonal was apparently the choice because it minimizes dark corners.

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The tour ends out on the north terrace over the stables. Above is the back elevation of the house leading off into some of the gardens. That’s basically all I saw due to lack of time. I must go back sometime because I’m convinced I could spend an entire day just roaming the gardens.

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