Virginia’s Presidential Estates

Eight presidents were born in Virginia, something us Virginians take pride in. In honor of Presidents Day, we put together this guide to those eight presidential estates that are found in the Old Dominion!

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello:  Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States, author of the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom. His famous Monticello estate is featured on the nickel. The first Monticello design included 14 rooms; as of today there are 43 rooms in the entire structure. Monticello is located in Charlottesville.

George Washington’s Mount VernonGeorge Washington was the first president of the United States, commander of the Continental Army, and president of the Constitutional Convention. What started as a single story home now stands at three stories and includes 21 rooms and overlooks the Potomac River.

James Madison’s Montpelier: Father of the Constitution, co-writer of the Federalist Paper, Bill of Rights sponsor, co-founder of the Democrat-Republican Party and fourth American president, James Madison’s home is located in Orange, Virginia. Montpelier now more closely resembles the home he and his wife lived in after his two presidential terms ended after a massive multi-year restoration that was completed in 2008.

William Henry Harrison’s and Benjamin Harrison’s Berkeley PlantationWilliam Henry Harrison served as America’s ninth president and his son Benjamin Harrison was the US’s 23rd president. General George McClellan’s Union troops occupied Berkely during the Civil War and is home of the birth of “Taps,” composed by General Daniel Butterfield and first played by his bugler, O.W. Norton. Visit Berkeley Plantation and bask in an unspoiled and tranquil environment.

James Monroe’s Ash-Lawn Highland: Thomas Jefferson convinced his friend James Monroe, fifth president of the United States, to purchase the land near Monticello. He built a quaint white wooden farmhouse and is commonly referred to as Monroe’s “castle cabin.” After selling the home in 1825 the new owners built a two-story home onto the side of the original.

Woodrow Wilson’s Presidential Library and MuseumThe twenty-eighth American president was born in Staunton, lived in the Shenandoah Valley and attended law school at the University of Virginia located in nearby Charlottesville. The pre-Civil War brick manse and adjacent museum provide a glimpse of what life was like for a Virginia family living in that era.

John Tyler’s Sherwood Forest PlantationJohn Tyler, tenth president of the United States, is the only president to have never been elected. He served one month as vice president before William Henry Harrison passed away. The Sherwood Forest Plantation remains in the Tyler family and his grandson still lives there. The home is known to be the longest frame house in America, measuring over 300 feet long, and is reported to be haunted by the “Gray Lady.”

Zachary Tyler’s Montebello:  The private estate located in Orange County was never owned or occupied by the twelfth US president. His family was traveling to Kentucky and stopped at Montebello due to a measels outbreak. They’d just sold their home, Hare Plantation located just outside of Orange. Zachary was born Montebello and their family completed their journey to Kentucky a short while later. Because the home is privately owned, there are no tours or visiting hours; however, a historic marker sits in front of the home.

Images and Sources:  Monticello, Mount Vernon, Montpelier, Berkeley Plantation, Ash-Lawn Highland, Woodrow Wilson, Sherwood Forest Plantation, The Washington Post

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