Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hooked on Historic Properties

I love history, historic houses and gardens. So a visit to Montpelier was perfect for Julia's Hooked on Fridays, blog party. I admit I have lived not far from Montpelier in Orange, VA., home of James and Dolley Madison, for four years and had not been there - until today! Sometimes inertia takes over and I need a real push to get out and do something. Luckily my friend, who used to work there, agreed to go with me and share her knowledge.

James Madison's grandfather, Ambrose, acquired the land in partnership with his brother-in-law, Tomas Chew, in 1723 and moved his family there in 1732. Six months later Ambrose was dead, poisoned it was thought by three slaves. His wife Frances managed the estate and eventually was assisted by her only son, James, later known as Colonel Madison.

Colonel Madison's son, also James, grew up at Montpelier and it was there in the second floor library that he wrote the Constitution of the United States. James married Dolley and became the fourth president of the United States. He and Dolley eventually retired to Montpelier and both are buried on the property. For pictures of the house and detailed information go to the official site of the Montpelier Foundation.
This is the view from the terrace looking west toward the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Madison property was bought by the duPonts in 1901 and extensively enlarged. Annie duPont turned the vegetable garden into a two acre walled formal garden.
The walled garden is surrounded by a brick wall and has brick and gravel paths. When I was there today it was abuzz with bumble bees and butterfiles seemed to be everywhere!

9 comments:

Gayle said...

It is just lovely!

TheOldPostRoad said...

I researched this property a while back and I think they are in the process of tearing off the Dupont additions and bringing the structure back to the Madison era in appearance. Cool post!

Alea said...

Absolutely lovely! I took my children to see Apamatox Court House, Montecello, and Montpelier in 2000. The guides were wonderful and made the tours very interesting for my then 7 and 9 year old children.

I miss the history and the green of the east coast; thanks for the glimpse!

Things That Inspire said...

Oh, that view...how beautiful. I also love the walled garden!

Terry said...

The countryside seem so familiar. I've always been partial to Dolley, she has a connection to Guilford County in NC where I grew up. I also had my Aunt Dolley, a great name that is too little used today.

The Thrifty Countrywoman said...

You're so lucky to live in such a historical area! So lovely!

used cars luverne said...

I love the history and pics. Thanks.

Struggler said...

What a beautiful, beautiful view. I could sit for hours drinking that in.

Beachbrights said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing...XOXO