Friday, October 9, 2009

Monroe and Ash Lawn-Highland

So the answer to the question about the 5th President is of course James Monroe.

His home is also near Charlottesville, VA and is very close to Jefferson's Monticello. The home is called Ash Lawn-Highland. James and Elizabeth lived there although due to fire and subsequent rebuilding only part of the original structure survives. The surviving part, interestingly enough, is painted white and you can see that part in the pictures. The not so original part is yellow.

In addition to the Monroe Doctrine, James is credited with saving the originals of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence when the British fooled the military and attacked Washington instead of Baltimore.

By comparison to both Monticello and Montpelier, Ash Lawn-Highland is modest, but still well above the standard for a normal Virginia family of the time.

Many of the furnishings are authentic Monroe or period pieces--but the curator has made some significant deviations which if you are a purist could detract from the historical sense of the visit.

An interesting tidbit--the first White House wedding (although during the period it was known as the President's House) was for Monroe's daughter Maria Hester Monroe Gouverneur (1803–1850) who married her second cousin Samuel L. Gouverneur on March 8, 1820.

Ash Lawn-Highland is owned and administered by The college of William and Mary.

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