Founding Father. Principal Author of the Declaration of Independence. Farmer. Author. Scholar. Third President of the United States.
As if these titles were not enough, Thomas Jefferson also can add owner of one of the most famous homes in the country to his list of accomplishments. While many people know about Monticello, Jefferson also lived in some other interesting homes throughout his life. Let’s take a look.
Known as the first octagonal home in the United States, this retreat outside is located in what is now Forest, Virginia just miles outside of Lynchburg. Thomas Jefferson built this estate towards the end of his life as an escape from the hordes of visitors that came to Monticello.
It was in essence a retreat, or vacation home, for this Founding Father. Jefferson is quoted as saying “It is the most valuable of my possessions” when speaking about his home at Poplar Forest. Jefferson intended to give the home to his youngest daughter, Mary Jefferson, who unfortunately died at the early age of 26.
Many refer to this home as an embodiment of Jefferson himself as it is representative of many forms of excellence including architecture, landscaping and an engineering marvel.
Poplar Forest is one of only two homes that Thomas Jefferson designed and built for himself. Find out more information on this national landmark at PoplarForest.org.
Credited as being the boyhood home of Thomas Jefferson, it is currently part of a historic district located near Manakin Virginia. The home is estimated to have been built in 1710 although construction on it and the surrounding grounds lasted into the 1740′s.
Through additions of rooms and living spaces, the home was made into an “H” shaped structure with each wing mirroring the other and connected by a main hallway. Some of the notable elements of the house include a gabled roof, 2 brick chimneys on either side of the home and beautifully wooded grounds.
A small schoolhouse was built close to the home and is where Thomas Jefferson first received his education. Jefferson’s parents and families are both buried in the cemetery on the property. To learn more about Tuckahoe Plantation and its history click here.
After the White House, Monticello is arguably the most famous residence in the United States. Designed by Thomas Jefferson the home was built to reflect Italian Renaissance architecture. Located just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, the home is perched on top of an 850 ft. high hill giving it an exceptional view of the surrounding grounds and area.
The decor and other elements of the home are truly one of a kind. In the ceiling of the main entrance, Jefferson had a wind plate installed and connected to a weather vane on the roof so that just by looking up one could tell which way the wind was blowing. On the exterior East wall of the house is clock that only has an hour hand because Jefferson felt that was all that was necessary for day laborers to be able to tell what time it was.
Inside the home are some amazing historical touches. The entrance hall has a collection of items gathered during the expedition of Lewis and Clark. The library is a much smaller possession of books than Jefferson’s original collection which was actually used to start the Library of Congress. Yes, Jefferson was an avid reader.
Monticello is estimated to boast over 11,000 square feet of living space in addition to having one of the most exceptional vegetable gardens and is considered an architectural marvel.
If you’ve never seen Monticello in person, it’s well worth a trip. Find out more at Monticello.org.
Poplar Forest image courtesy of Poplar Forest on Facebook
Tuckahoe Plantation photo copyright 2010 Hannah V. Warfield
Monticello image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons