Landscaping in America

Photographs of Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson





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  • Monticello: Monticello
    Monticello: home of Thomas Jefferson -- author of the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, third president of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia.
  • Monticello: Monticello
  • Monticello: West Portico
    The West Portico is probably the most photographed side of Thomas Jefferson's home. It has the same number of columns across as the Northeast Portico, but is one column deeper. Underneath the familiar dome on the main floor is the Parlor Room. Here Jefferson and his family and guests engaged in conversation, read, played games, and performed and listened to music. The room displayed much of Jefferson's art collection and was the site of family weddings, dances, and christenings.
  • Monticello: Jefferson's Private Suite
    The 2 windows shown in this view was Jefferson's office. Here he read, wrote, did his architectural drafting and conducted scientific observation. This corner of the house was Jefferson's suite of private rooms. This suite included the Book Room, Greenhouse, and Bedchamber. The green shuttered section is one of the enclosed terraces that could be entered from the house through the piazza, the adjoining Cabinet or Bookroom, or from the outside via small sets of stairs. Though Jefferson never wrote a description of their function, it is likely these porches (which Jefferson sometimes called "porticles") were used as extensions of the indoor living spaces. The louvered blinds could be moved to adjust the amount of light, providing shade, air, and a modest amount of privacy.
  • Monticello: Poppy
  • Monticello: Hollyhocks in the vegetable garden
  • Monticello: Southeast Piazza
  • Monticello: Original Tulip Tree from Jefferson's time.
  • Monticello: Terrace above the tunnel leading from the Southeast Depencies
  • Monticello: Winding Flower Walk
    Jefferson's winding walk and the accompanying flower border were laid out in the spring of 1808. A sketch of his design also included four large oval­shaped areas that were to be planted with flowering shrubs; however, it is not known if these were ever installed. By 1812, Jefferson needed a more systematic organization of the border and so divided the beds into ten­foot sections, each compartment numbered and planted with a different flower.
  • Monticello: One of the Winding Flower Walk flower beds.
  • Monticello: Fish Pond
    In addition to being highly decorative, the fish pond near the house was a useful holding place for fish caught in the Rivanna River and nearby streams until needed for meals. Other holding ponds were located elsewhere on the plantation and were specifically named for the type of fish they held. In 1814 Jefferson recorded the damage done by a small flood to the "chub" and the "carp" ponds. In 1819, he noted "the uppermost pond is for eels."
  • Monticello: Privy in the North Dependency
    The North Dependency wing, which was completed in 1809, contains the North Privy, the Ice House, horses stalls, and an area for parking carriages. It connects the main house to the North Pavilion.
  • Monticello: Northeast Portico
    The Northeast Portico served as the house's primary entrance for visitors. The exterior face of the Great Clock, which shows only an hour hand, sits above the set of arched windows and door, and a compass rose in the portico's ceiling is connected to a weather vane above.
  • Monticello: Tulip Tree
  • Monticello: Portion of Oval Flower Beds surrounding the house
  • Monticello: Hollyhocks outside the south Venetian porch
  • Monticello: Floxglove
  • Monticello: Southwest Portico
    The Southwest, or Garden, Portico opens from the Parlor to Monticello's West Lawn. Together with its crowing dome, the portico is one of the most recognizable features of the house's exterior and for the majority of the last seventy years, has been depicted on the reverse of the United States Nickel. Apart from its decorative aspect, the portico was also an extension of the house's living space. At one point Jefferson sketched designs for blinds that could fold down between columns of the portico to create a shaded area protected from the rays of the afternoon sun.
  • Monticello: Larkspur & butterfly
  • Monticello: Jack Jouett re-enactment
    Actor portraying the arrival of Jack Jouett at Monticello on June 3, 1781. On June 1, 1781 British General Cornwallis learned from a captured dispatch that Gov. Thomas Jefferson and Virginia's legislature fled to Charlottesville, Virginia, the location of Jefferson's home, Monticello. Virginia's government had escaped to Charlottesville after Benedict Arnold, who had defected to the British, had attacked the capital of Richmond. Cornwallis ordered Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton to ride to Charlottesville, Virginia and capture Gov. Jefferson and the Virginia legislature. Tarleton hoped to capture Jefferson and the many notable Revolutionary leaders who were Virginia legislators, including: Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Nelson, Jr., and Benjamin Harrison V. Jouett correctly suspected that the cavalry were marching to Charlottesville to capture Virginia's government. Jouett knew that the legislature was completely undefended. Jouett quickly mounted his horse and, at about 10 P.M., began the 40 mile ride from Louisa to Charlottesville. With the British cavalry on the main highway, Jouett had to take the rough backwoods trails, lit by a full moon, and still ride fast enough to beat the British. At about 4:30 A.M., he crossed the ford and ascended the mountain on which Jefferson's Monticello sits. At Monticello, Jouett awoke Jefferson and his guests, several Virginia legislators. Jefferson rewarded Jouett with some fine Madeira. Jouett then left to travel the extra two miles to warn the town of Charlottesville. Today, this even is re-enacted every year on June 3.
  • Monticello: Globe Centaura
  • Monticello: Flower bed opposite the Southwest Portico
  • Monticello: Image
  • Monticello: Image
  • Monticello: Image
  • Monticello: Winding Flower Walkway
  • Monticello: Image
  • Monticello: South Dependency
  • Monticello: Brick walkway to Northeast Portico
  • Monticello: Weathervane above the Northeast Portico
  • Monticello: Path along vegetable garden terrace
    Vegetables and fruit grown on the estate today are given to the over 600 employees and volunteers that work at Monticello.
  • Monticello: Vegetable Garden as viewed from Mulberry Row.
  • Monticello: Southwest Vineyards
    In 1802 Jefferson recorded in his Garden Book the planting of European varieties in a "S.W. Vineyard." The location of this previously unspecified vineyard is identified on an orchard and garden plan dating from about 1811. This 16,000­foot area was separated from the northeast vineyard by the berry squares. The first plantings here included vines of "Burgundy," "Bordeaux," and "Champagne" grapes as well as those of "Cape of good hope." The Southwest Vineyard was replanted in 1993 entirely with the Sangiovese grape, a variety documented by Jefferson in 1807 and the principal ingredient of Chianti.
  • Monticello: Northeast Vineyard
  • Monticello: Stone Retaining Wall
  • Monticello: Vegetable Garden Terrace with the Garden Pavilion.
  • Monticello: Vegetable Garden Pavillion
    Interior view of the Vegetable Garden Pavilion. Its dramatic setting is enhanced by the pavilion that Jefferson noted "for the center of the south long walk of the garden" in a manuscript dated ca. 1807­1810. Built along the outer edge of the vegetable garden terrace, it was distinguished by its double­sash windows, Chinese railings, and pyramidal roof. According to one account, Jefferson used the pavilion as a quiet retreat where he would read. It was reputedly blown down in a violent wind storm in the 1820s but was reconstructed in 1984 based on Jefferson's notes and archaeological excavations.
  • Monticello: Mulberry Row
    Jefferson used the term "Mulberry Row" for this road, which had mulberry trees planted on either side of the lane. When first built, it ran a straight line for most of its course but veered slightly away from the main house at its northeastern end, following the contour of the mountain. Only four buildings ­­ a joinery, a dwelling for free workmen, and two dwellings for slaves ­­ are known to have existed prior to the 1790s. Afterwards, the northeast end was straightened and the number of buildings grew rapidly as Monticello was being remodeled. Following Mulberry Row eventually leads down to the family cemetery.
  • Monticello: Jefferson's Tomb
    Thomas Jefferson is buried at Monticello with other members of his family in a graveyard chosen by him in 1773. Laid out upon the death of his closest friend and brother­in­law, Dabney Carr, this plot is still owned by an association of Jefferson's descendants through his daughters, Martha and Maria, and is still used as a cemetery. Despite Jefferson's astounding range of accomplishments, the epitaph he wrote for his tombstone included only: "Author of the Declaration of American Independence, Of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia."
  • Monticello: Image
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General Mailing and Contact Information for Monticello:

Thomas Jefferson Foundation
Post Office Box 316
Charlottesville, VA 22902

(434) 984-9822


All photographs by J. Merrill, editor



Landscape Photographs