Montpelier

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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Montpelier, located in Orange County, Virginia, was the plantation home of James Madison, fourth president of the United States. The original core of the main house was built around 1760 by President Madison’s father, James Madison, Sr. In 1797 James Madison, Jr. and his wife Dolley moved to Montpelier and began making changes and building additions, with the advice of Thomas Jefferson.[1] Madison added a wing to the northeast end of the house, as well as a portico on the front.[2] In 1809-1812, Madison made further additions to the house, again with the architectural advice of Jefferson and also with the help of two of Jefferson’s builders, James Dinsmore and John Neilson.[3]

In 1844, Dolley Madison sold the property. Renovations were made around 1860 and again around 1884 by subsequent owners.[4] In 1901 the property was purchased by William duPont, who made extensive renovations and changes to the house and property, including the construction of numerous outbuildings and additions to the main house that nearly doubled its size.[5]

Today the property is managed by The National Trust for Historic Preservation, and efforts are under way to restore it to the condition it was in at the time the Madisons lived there.[6]



Footnotes

  1. Calder Loth, ed. The Virginia Landmarks Register, fourth edition (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1999), 366.
  2. Montpelier website http://www.montpelier.org/history/main_house.cfm.
  3. Richard Guy Wilson, ed. Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 130.
  4. Montpelier website.
  5. Wilson, 130.
  6. Montpelier website.