Friday, April 18, 2014

Historic Houses in Virginia


Virginia, with its rich history and heritage, is home to eight presidents, including four of the first five US presidents as well as the many important leaders of the confederacy. Because of that, Virginia has many historic houses.

Monticello (pictured), situated near Charlottesville, Virginia is the estate of the Third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson himself designed it. It was built in 1772, with a neoclassical style of architecture. During the Civil War, the Confederate government took possession of the house and sold it. The Monticello is the only private home in the US that has been named as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, it is a museum and educational institution.

Mount Vernon, located near Alexandria, Virginia, on the banks of the Potomac River is the home of the First President of the United States of America, George Washington. It was named a National Landmark in 1960 and later listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The estate is a popular tourists attraction and is famous for its exceptional landscaping, just like Washington would have hoped for. It was used as a neutral ground for the Union and Confederate during the Civil War. The Estate is opened seven days a week, year round including Christmas and Holidays. The remains of George and Martha Washington, along with other family members, are buried on Mount Vernon.

Arlington House, also known as the Robert E. Lee Memorial, was once the home of General Robert E. Lee, a Confederate General during the American Civil War. It was used as headquarters for officers of the federal forces. In 1864, the Arlington grounds became the new site of a new cemetery—after the military cemeteries were filled up with dead Union soldiers. It is now known as the Arlington National Cemetery.

Once the residence of James Monroe, the Fifth President of the United States, The Ash lawn-Highland is next to his close friend Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. These 1,000-acres of land were where the Monroe family resided for 24 years until he was forced to sell to pay his debts.

The property was sold numerous times, but the last owner, Jay Winston Johns of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, opened the house to public tours and after his death in 1974, on his will, he gave the property to Monroe’s Alma Mater, the College of William and Mary.

The Ash Lawn-Highland was featured on A&E Network—The Guide to Historic Homes of America.

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