Results 1-5of 5 Reviews
by Eric from Aiea
October 19, 2010
From journal Of Wine and Wine Festivals on the Other Coast
St. Louis, Missouri
March 4, 2009
September 20, 2007
From journal On the Road to Lynchburg
July 28, 2003
A talented architect and landscaper, Jefferson gave free rein to his imagination in planning Poplar Forest, incorporating Italian and French design elements. The octagonal villa included floor-to-ceiling windows, skylights, columns and porticos. It was the centerpiece of a five-acre garden bounded by a tree-lined, circular carriage road.
After Jefferson’s death in 1826, the property passed through many hands. In 1984, it was purchased by the nonprofit Cooperation for Jefferson’s Poplar Forest. Restoration of the exterior was completed in 1998, winning the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s coveted Honor Award.
Poplar Forest gives visitors a unique opportunity to tour a historic house as it is being reconstructed. It’s an active archeological site. Plaster is still going up on the walls, bricks and boards are still exposed, and furniture is restricted to a few reproduction chairs and tables.
Even without furniture, it’s clear that this was Jefferson’s retreat, the place he came to escape the din of public life. The main living space contained just two sleeping chambers, a small dining room, and a parlor. The south-facing parlor, where Jefferson sat to pen countless letters and read from his library of some 700 volumes, is by far the most graceful room: a bright and airy space with a wall of triple-sash windows and a glass door looking out onto a small portico and a broad, sunken back lawn.
Our particular guide was knowledgeable, but could have been a bit more animated; when leading a group around an unfinished and unfurnished interior, a guide has to do more "filling in the blanks" than on a normal historic-house tour. At 40 minutes, the tour was a bit long, especially for the children in the group.
Visitors are welcome to explore the main grounds on their own, including the wing of "offices" -- kitchens, laundries and cellars -- jutting out on the east side of the main building. A short distance from the house, archaeologists have found the remnants of the slave quarters, and have built a "ghost" structure to show the dimensions of the average slave cabin. Back at the Visitor’s Center, there is a gift shop and large hands-on history pavilion for both children and adults.
From journal Thomas Jefferson's Summer Retreat
, Virginia, Turkey
December 8, 2002
Thomas Jefferson ordered the construction of this house during his presidency in 1806. He designed the house as a perfect orthogonal. He was influenced by the works of Italian architects especially the works of the 16th century Italian architect, Andrea Palladio. We only visited the second floor which the family resided and it consists of 6 rooms and a hall. Poplar Forest reminded me of Monticello.
, Jefferson''s main residence, in that it had alcove beds, a skylight in the dining area (the dining room was only illuminated by this skylight, and there was a terrace on one wing of the house. It is much smaller than Monticello, but the design is much more interesting.
Here, in Poplar Forest, we observed the private life of Jefferson. He had a big plantation where he rode his horse, he had nearly 700 books to read in his study, and he often spent time with his grandkids. Usually his two older granddaughters, Ellen and Cornelia Randolph, stayed with him and kept him company. A description of their life in Poplar Forest was depicted in a letter from his granddaughter Ellen Randolph to Henry Randall.
Unfortunately, over the years the house was not well taken of, a major fire burned all the original woods in 1845, different owners made changes to the original house. In order to prevent its demise the Corporation for Jefferson''s Poplar Forest bought the property and is restoring it to its original shape. When we visited the restoration on the outside of the house and the necessary (the outhouse) was finished. They were working on the inside of the house, and the work areas (kitchen etc) based on both archaeological and historical research. The grounds in front of the house called the Curtilage are also being restored.
The interior walls of the house were not yet constructed so we had a rare opportunity to see the bare building, the original bricks, irons, sand and marble. I really appreciated the foundations efforts to bring this place to its original form. Without their efforts this historical landmark might be diminished.
It would be nice to revisit later when the restorations progress or for special events such as Independence Day Celebration, Harvest Moon Festival or Archaeology Open House. Check the events schedule.
From journal The "Shell Money" city: Roanoke