Thursday, May 11, 2017

October 2012: Washington DC--Part III

My colleagues and friends with Tom

Thomas Jefferson's Home at Monticello

Since we were researching religious freedom for the play "First Freedom," it seemed natural that we would then go to Thomas Jefferson's home at Monticello.  Not only was he the author of the Declaration of Independence, he was also a staunch advocate of religious liberty along with James Madison.  He was a non-traditional believer by the standards of the time, but he was ferocious in his defense of all people being allowed to worship however they chose.

Jefferson served as the third president of the United States, posed for Gutzon Borglum for a portrait on Mount Rushmore, and has lately been appearing on the United States Nickel.  Actually, he didn't pose for Borglum.  But Jefferson was a renaissance man like many of the founders.  He was a man of letters and of science and of art.  Jefferson did it all.  He was even an architect and designed one of the most iconic residences in the United States of America, Monticello.

Monticello is designed in the Neo-Classical style.  Symmetry and order were the rule of the day in architecture.  He not only designed for aesthetics but also practicality.  Because of water shortages, he designed four cisterns at the corners of the house to collect rainwater.  He created a weathervane, but instead of having to go all the way to the front yard to see it, he had the bottom of it penetrate through the ceiling of the veranda so he could see which way the wind was blowing without having to leave the house.  There were several other inventions and contraptions in the home that Jefferson designed or tweaked to make better.

Sadly, as was the case with Montpelier, we weren't allowed to photograph much in the main house.  We were able to photograph in the cellar and on the grounds.  I enjoyed my visit to Monticello.  We only had a few days to visit and see a great deal for the research we were doing.  I'd love to come back when we had more time to soak it all in.  To the pictures.

Walking up the hill to the home.  Interesting that you cannot see the main architectural feature, the dome from this angle

The neo-classical portico

I love the detailing and woodcraft here

Palladian style windows here too

Large columns

And fake brick, who knew

The bottom of the weathervane

Love the egg and dart, the dentils, triglyphs and metopes.

Large cisterns built by Jefferson

There were scientific instruments like this all over the place

Great view of the estate, complete with dome

In the stables

Back of the house

I believe this to be one of the cisterns

This window was in a basement passageway

And this is what it looked like on the wall opposite

One of the kitchens on the estate

Gnarly tree


Cool flowers

Back yard, and you can see the dome

This is what is left of the joiner's shop, where the woodworking would have taken place

Cemetery entrance.  Of course I would be interested in this

Marker of Jefferson's original resting place.  This marker talks about his commitment to religious liberty 

Cemetery fence detail


and again

and again

I love the cast and wrought iron

Some fungus on the property.

Monticello was a very beautiful dwelling.  Jefferson's hand was evident in every aspect of the home.  It was a privilege to spend time in the shadow of the great men who shaped this country, and also the world.  I would love to come back.

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