Monticello not the only TJ mansion

news-poplarforestA few hundred supporters turned out on a rainy Thursday evening to show that Monticello isn't the only house Thomas Jefferson loved to visit. A giant tent kept the rain off the black-tie-clad diners who assembled June 5 at Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson's secluded getaway house on the southwestern outskirts of Lynchburg. Of course, the crowd also wanted to hear famed actors Robert Duvall (Tender Mercies, The Godfather, and Apocalypse Now) and Connie Britton (The Brothers McMullen, televison's Friday Night Lights and 24) read early19th century letters. In Duvall's case, the letters came from TJ himself, while Britton, who grew up in Lynchburg and whose late father served on Poplar Forest's governing board, read excerpts from letters penned by Jefferson's granddaughters. Among the attendees at this event celebrating 25 years of restoration was Dale Harris, a former judge who earned her 1978 UVA Law School degree by commuting from Lynchburg and whose family used to own Poplar Forest as a summer house. An up-and-coming writer/director who grew up in Abingdon and went to college at Hampden-Sydney, Scott Cooper introduced Duvall. Nobody strayed too far from their script, but Northern Virginia resident Duvall made the crowd smile when he remarked that his wife thinks Virginia's a stopping point to heaven. "If this is the last station before heaven," said Duvall, "then what a great launching pad this is."


Poplar Forest was the inspiration for a wonderful series of paintings which were on view at Second Street Gallery in 1997. This show inspired me to travel to Jefferson's retreat and just as the paintings were brilliant and beautiful, so too is the house. Ms. Jacobs' web-site shows several examples of these octagonal paintings that are interesting to compare to the house floor plan at the Poplar Forest web-site.

from the 1999 show at the Univ of Wyoming:
"Jacobs works with a variety of media (graphite, wax, and casein) on gator board cut in the shape of the octagonal "footprint" of Jefferson's architectural masterpiece."

This is a magical place --not to be missed if you've never seen it !

Did he steal his design for this house from the Pantheon also or was that just Monticello?

thanks for coming. enjoyed seeing you both!