Kamis, 04 Agustus 2011

Montpelier James Madison House, Orange Virginia

The Montpelier Estate was first built by James Madison's grandparents near Charlottesville Virginia in in 1723. He added on to it throughout his life, wings on either side, and the front columned porch. Taking cues from Monticello, Madison built balconies atop each wing and made an impressive front entrance with museum pieces and conversation-starters. The present day White House likely was influenced by Madison's front facade design.

Madison's son swindled his mother out of her fortune, and so the estate was sold to pay off debts. The Du Pont family acquired the house in 1901 and restored much of the homes and surrounding gardens. A $25 million restoration program only recently began in 2003 and opened the house to tours. Renovations, the rebuilding of servants quarters, and archeological digs are still ongoing.

It was in this house, in the central room just above the front door, that Madison figured out the structure for the United States government and established the Bill of Rights in 1789. First Lady Dolley Madison held lavish parties in the house, presenting an environment where opposing factions could come together peacefully.

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