Architect,gardener,scientist,philosopher,mathematician,horticulturist,politician and spoke 5 languages…Jefferson was truly a man of the enlightenment. Beginning with entering the front hallway of Monticello you are told by the tour guide that he specifically made the entrance a “Museum” with relics from the Lewis and Clark expedition,maps, and antlers of animals both rare and native to Virginia.He felt that if anyone was waiting for him, they surely should be learning while waiting.
Also in the entrance hall there is a clock which not only tells the time but tells the day of the week. He ran out of room as the ball descends to Friday afternoon so he merely cut a hole and put Saturday in the basement! He also had extensive notes on the weather each day.
He thought about ease and convenience in many instances. He invented the swivel chair, a double door which when you open on one side, has a pulley system he invented to open the other. He had a dumb waiter that spins around for staff to collect dishes after a meal , a pulley system to the basement where new bottles of wine can be brought up,the empties taken away. His closet above his bed(which to his specification is 6’3″ to be 1/2 inch longer than his 6’2 1/2″ to not waste room) has holes for ventilation but is a clever way to hide his clothes and not take up room. His bed was conveniently positioned between the bedroom and the office so he could leap out to begin his day’s work and study.
Jefferson was very fond of the architect Andrea Palladio. He spent over 40 years altering and working on Monticello-always discovering something new that he saw when he resided in Europe several times. Even now there is much work going on-they are building cabins that would look like the slave quarters seen at Monticello in jefferson’s day.
On this topic,slavery, Jefferson never resolved his own personal feelings. He definitely felt that all men were created equal yet he had over 200 slaves on his property.
Jefferson stated in a letter to a friend “All my wishes end,where I hope my days will end,at Monticello”. He died on July 4,1826-just hours before his friend John Adams in Boston,and 50 years to the day of the enactment of the Declaration of Independence which he penned.
If you have not made it to Monticello which is located near Charlottesville, Virginia- you really need to add it to your list.