NHL: Monticello

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States designed and began construction of his plantation, Monticello, on land he’d inherited when he was 26 years old.

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After his death, Monticello was sold to an admirer of Jefferson’s who preserved it with his own money. His descendants later sold it to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation which now operates the house as a museum. The home was eventually designated a World Heritage Site as well as a National  Landmark. The five cent US nickel depicts Monticello on the back of the coin.

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Jefferson incorporated Italian Renaissance elements as well as designs of his own into the mansion. Jefferson was an inventor in his own right…he designed the Great Clock which has dual faces on the exterior and interior of the entrance hall. It is powered by a series of ropes and weights which descend through the floor into the basement with the passing of time.

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My daughter and I visited Monticello as a stop on a road trip to South Carolina. We were lucky enough to get on a guided tour designed for families with young children.

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It was an engaging tour for both of us. We enjoyed seeing the marvelous inventions inside the house and the beautiful, historic furnishings. At the end of the tour, we visited various stations on the grounds where we played games popular in Jefferson’s time and drew with a quill pen!

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Location: 931 Thomas Jefferson Pkwy, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Designation: World Heritage Site, National Historic Landmark

Date designation declared: 12/19/1960

Date of my visit: April 2, 2010

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Natural Bridge (Virginia)

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Lace Falls

The Natural Bridge in Virginia was a great stop on our road trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s not far off Interstate 81 and has a mile long trail under the 215 foot natural stone arch, past the ‘lost river’, a native American village replica to some waterfalls. There are also tours of the nearby Natural Bridge Caverns.

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This area is a National Hiistoric Landmark. The 157 acre property was purchased by Thomas Jefferson from King George III for 20 shillings in 1774 and was a tourist attraction even back then. George Washington is said to have surveyed the area and carved his initials on the wall of the bridge.

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George Washington’s Initials?

When we visited this site in 2013, it was under private ownership. In 2016, ownership transferred to the state of Virginia and became Natural Bridge State Park. Also in 2016, the new state park was designated an affiliated area by the National Park Service which provides for federal funding.

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The Lost River – water source unknown

Location: 6477 S Lee Hwy, Natural Bridge, VA 24578

Designation: National Historic Landmark

Date designation declared: 8/06/1998

Date of my visit: 8/16/2013DSC05789