Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville World Heritage Site

World Heritage site in the United States

Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (cropped).JPG
LocationAlbemarle County, near Charlottesville, Virginia, US
Coordinates38°00′37.01″N 78°27′08.28″W / 38.0102806°N 78.4523000°W / 38.0102806; -78.4523000Coordinates: 38°00′37.01″N 78°27′08.28″W / 38.0102806°N 78.4523000°W / 38.0102806; -78.4523000
ArchitectThomas Jefferson
Architectural style(s)Neoclassical, Palladian
Governing bodyThe Thomas Jefferson Foundation (TJF)
Official nameMonticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville
Criteriai, iv, vi
Designated1987 (11th session)
Reference no.442
RegionEurope and North America
DesignatedOctober 15, 1966[1]
Reference no.66000826
DesignatedDecember 19, 1960[2]
DesignatedSeptember 9, 1969[3]
Reference no.002-0050
Monticello is located in Virginia
Location of Monticello in Virginia
Monticello and its reflection
Some of the gardens on the property

Monticello (/ˌmɒntɪˈɛl, -ˈsɛl/ MON-tih-CHEL-oh, -⁠SEL-oh) was the primary plantation of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, who began designing Monticello after inheriting land from his father at age 26. Located just outside Charlottesville, Virginia, in the Piedmont region, the plantation was originally 5,000 acres (20 km2), with Jefferson using the labor of enslaved African people for extensive cultivation of tobacco and mixed crops, later shifting from tobacco cultivation to wheat in response to changing markets. Due to its architectural and historic significance, the property has been designated a National Historic Landmark. In 1987, Monticello and the nearby University of Virginia, also designed by Jefferson, were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The current nickel, a United States coin, features a depiction of Monticello on its reverse side.

Jefferson designed the main house using neoclassical design principles described by Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio and reworking the design through much of his presidency to include design elements popular in late 18th-century Europe and integrating numerous ideas of his own. Situated on the summit of an 850-foot (260 m)-high peak in the Southwest Mountains south of the Rivanna Gap, the name Monticello derives from Italian meaning "little mountain". Along a prominent lane adjacent to the house, Mulberry Row, the plantation came to include numerous outbuildings for specialized functions, e.g., a nailery; quarters for enslaved Africans who worked in the home; gardens for flowers, produce, and Jefferson's experiments in plant breeding—along with tobacco fields and mixed crops. Cabins for enslaved Africans who worked in the fields were farther from the mansion, out of Jefferson's sight both literally and figuratively.[4]

At Jefferson's direction, he was buried on the grounds, in an area now designated as the Monticello Cemetery. The cemetery is owned by the Monticello Association, a society of his descendants through Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson.[5] After Jefferson's death, his daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph sold the property. In 1834, it was bought by Uriah P. Levy, a commodore in the U.S. Navy, who admired Jefferson and spent his own money to preserve the property. His nephew Jefferson Monroe Levy took over the property in 1879; he also invested considerable money to restore and preserve it. In 1923, Monroe Levy sold it to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (TJF), which operates it as a house museum and educational institution.

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 15, 2006.
  2. ^ "Monticello (Thomas Jefferson House)". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2008.
  3. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  4. ^ Freeman, et al, hosts. "The Long Shadow of the Plantation." Backstory, #0294, Virginia Humanities, 2019.
  5. ^ The Monticello Cemetery, Retrieved December 28, 2010.

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