Ash Lawn-Highland

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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Ash Lawn-Highland was the plantation home of President James Monroe. Located in Albemarle County, Virginia, Monroe and his wife Elizabeth owned the property, originally named Highland, from 1793 until 1826 and lived there from 1799 until 1823.[1] In 1799 Monroe completed the original farmhouse, now the western portion of the present house. The location of the house was chosen by Thomas Jefferson, who wanted his friend’s home within view of his own nearby Monticello.[2] Over the course of the next two decades Monroe continued to add on to the original house, which he called his "castle cabin."[3]

In 1823 the Monroe family left Highland and in 1826 the property was sold.[4] Subsequent owners made numerous changes and additions to the house, as well as changing the name of the property to Ash Lawn (today it is referred to by both names). In 1931 the house was opened to the public by Jay Winston Johns, who bequeathed the property to the College of William and Mary, Monroe’s alma mater, in 1974.[5] Since then, the College of William and Mary has undertaken restoration efforts on both the house and the property, including the slave cabins.[6]


  1. Ash Lawn-Highland website
  2. Calder Loth, ed. The Virginia Landmarks Register, fourth edition (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1999), 7.
  3. Richard Guy Wilson, ed. Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 168.
  4. Loth, 7.
  5. Ash Lawn-Highland website.
  6. Wilson, 168.

Further Sources