"I am as happy nowhere else and in no other society, and all my wishes end, where I hope my days will end, at Monticello," wrote Thomas Jefferson the great architect of his home, Monticello. His home of 54 years was named Monticello which means "little mountain" in Italian. Many still question the reasoning for the name "Monticello." The only reasoning that was come up with was that Jefferson wanted to build his home on his mountain located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia near Charlottesville. He wanted a place that was private and away from civilization and the commotion of politics.
Thomas Jefferson became his own master builder on this land that he inherited from his father, Peter Jefferson. When his father died he left five thousand acres and more than twenty slaves to Thomas and his younger brother Randolph. The land would include the little 867 foot wooded mountain that would one day be called "Monticello." In 1767 Jefferson did the unheard thing to do in colonial America, he decided to build his dream home on the mountaintop. There were no highways or rivers on the land he built his home and people thought he was crazy and unpractical for doing this.
Architecture, as a profession, did not exist in colonial America. Only the wealthy men of the South were to have some knowledge of architectural styles. Finally gentlemen farmers and merchants were able to create plans and pictures of their dream houses by combining their skills. They were then able to become what was known as amateur architects.
Jefferson started his construction of Monticello by leveling his mountaintop and setting down on paper sketchy visions of the house. He then prepared the mechanical working drawings, which he taught himself to do. The materials needed to construct Monticello were found in the area. He used his own trees for timber and took stone blocks for the foundation out of his mountain. The bricks were even fired in...
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