Tag Archives: Charlottesville

Architecture: Monticello

There were actually two Monticellos. After the first was completed, Thomas Jefferson returned from serving in Europe and more than doubled the size of his signature home. Uploaded by community.klipsch.com.

Thomas Jefferson loved the neoclassical look, witness the design of his other project in Charlottesville, the University of Virginia. He was greatly influenced by the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, whose design principles Jefferson incorporated in the home he built at the top of a rolling hill in the Virginia countryside. He named it Monticello: “Little Mountain.”

There were actually two versions of Monticello, the second overlaying the first. Jefferson built his first version in 1768, but during his tenure as the U.S. Minister to France, he got to see actual examples of architectural styles he’d only been able to read about previously. Then, following his service as the first Secretary of State, he began rebuilding based on what he’d seen overseas. Monticello 2, the one we know today, is twice the size of the original home.

For a century following Jefferson’s death the house bounced from owner to owner. Some took care of the property, some didn’t. In 1923, the private Thomas Jefferson Foundation purchased the home and had it restored. It’s now operated as a private museum, and while visitors aren’t permitted in all its 43 rooms, much of the home is on public display.

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Among the most fascinating aspects of Monticello are the inventions and innovations Jefferson incorporated into the house. These include a revolving bookstand, a dumbwaiter, a swivel desk chair, and a polygraph machine with many pens that made multiple copies of anything Jefferson wrote.

Monticello is widely recognized as one of America’s architectural masterpieces. But which do you think is more significant – that it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or that it’s been on the back of the nickel coin since 1938?

TV Show: The Waltons

The Waltons was slotted opposite the popular series The Flip Wilson Show and The Mod Squad. It blew them both away. Uploaded by readthehook.com.

What was rural life like in Virginia during the Depression? It probably wasn’t as sweet as The Waltons, but we can hope. It was a simpler age, but an age when life was lived from day to day. And The Waltons showed us the importance of family in surviving the most difficult times.

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The series was created by Earl Hamner, based on his book Spencer’s Mountain, and was based on his own childhood memories of growing up not far from Charlottesville, Virginia. You may not remember, but there was a Spencer’s Mountain movie first, and Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara were the original Walton parents.

The TV show ran for nine seasons on CBS from 1972-81. It debuted against strong competition – The Flip Wilson Show and The Mod Squad. Wilson’s program was number one the previous two years, and it looked like The Waltons had been given a doomed time slot. But the show blasted the others, leading to the cancellation of The Mod Squad and causing Flip Wilson to pull the plug on his own show.

Lots of elements of the show resonated with a modern audience. Ike Godsy’s general store… the banter between loving but still irascible grandparents… the Baldwin sisters’ “recipe”… the approach of World War II. And, of course, “Good night, Mary Ellen.” “Good night, Ben.” “Good night, John Boy.”