Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States. He was an architect and an inventor and a statesman. But his passion was nature. NPR host Liane Hansen visits Monticello, Jefferson’s primary residence on a mountain top in Virginia, and tours Jefferson’s magnificent gardens: listen here.
Monticello, located in Charlottesville, Virginia, was the estate of Thomas Jefferson, the principal author for the United States Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia.
The house, which Jefferson himself designed, is in the Neoclassical style of Palladian architecture, based on the residence of the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. It is situated on the summit of an 850-foot (260 m)-high peak in the Southwest Mountains south of the Rivanna Gap. Its name comes from the Italian “little mountain.”
An image of the west front of Monticello by Felix Schlag has been featured on the reverse of the nickel minted since 1938 (with a brief interruption in 2004 and 2005, when designs of the Westward Journey series appeared instead).
Monticello also appeared on the reverse of the two-dollar bill from 1929 to 1966, when the bill was discontinued. The current bill was introduced in 1976 and retains Jefferson’s portrait on the obverse but replaced Monticello on the reverse with an engraved modified reproduction of John Trumbull’s painting Declaration of Independence instead. The gift shop at Monticello hands out two-dollar bills as change.