Arguably one of the most influential figures in American history is one of the Founding Fathers and our third president, Thomas Jefferson. Not only did he serve the country through these roles, he was also the main writer of the Declaration of Independence.
Jefferson did so much to form the country that we know and love today and there’s plenty to learn about his life and times. One of the best places to do so is at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia that he designed and oversaw the building of.
This house and its vast grounds are considered both a National Historic Landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it can be reached from Washington D.C. The home, named Monticello, has been preserved and restored a few times since Jefferson’s passing and his grave is located on the grounds.
Many history fans don’t know that this former president had a passion for architecture and designed the house to be totally unique to himself. Jefferson constantly encountered new influences on his travels that he wanted to incorporate into the final design of his home. Work continued on the house until Jefferson passed away in the early 1800’s as he was always inspired to add something else to the building.
Few areas can boast such a fascinating story and origin as Monticello and the use of this house as a learning center has given it a new lease of life. Now visitors can get a sense of the personality of this former president by taking in the furnishings and decorations of the home that he personally designed. There are few large pieces of furniture in the house as he believed that they were nothing but a waste of space unless being used, Jefferson even had what we would consider a modern, folding dining room table.
Families and school trips are also welcome here as they have hands on learning experiences to keep kids interested in history. They can write with quills and practice signing their names as they would have done back in the days of this president.
Aside from Monticello, the grounds also serve as a learning experience as visitors can see how the plantation was manned by slaves. They can take a step back in time to see life as it was for those who worked on the plantation and how they lived. This area serves as a reminder of what life was like for these men and women before they were emancipated.
The grounds themselves are also beautiful to behold at any time of day; the 5000 acre area allows tourists to stretch their legs and go for a walk among the verdant greenery. They’ll see where the name Monticello comes from, as it’s Italian for little mountain, because of where the house is located on top of the small hill. This gentle sloping land is excellent to round off a trip to this significant area in our county’s history before heading back to modern life.