Sunday, September 28, 2008

Madison's Montpelier....$24 Milllion Later

I’ve been in the middle of home renovations for what seems like forever. New hardwood floors, new appliances, updated furniture, etc. We get one room halfway cleaned up, and it’s time to tear another one down not to mention the decisions on color, fabric, and window treatments. I don’t do well in that type of situation…it takes me to long to decide because I like so many things. By the time I decide it's time to start over again.

Two things I haven’t thought of during our renovation is making our home smaller and actually removing the plumbing….totally. I mean, I’m five weeks out from having intestinal surgery. Believe me, I have issues in that area.

Why on earth would anyone want to remove their indoor plumbing?

Historical accuracy comes to mind, and that’s the reason why Montpelier, the home of President James Madison has been undergoing renovations. This article explains the home has undergone a $24 million architectural restoration with a goal of returning the structure to the way it was between 1809, when Madison was elected the nation’s fourth president, and 1836, the year he died.

The renovation took five years and was celebrated on September 17th, the 221st anniversary of the signing of the Constitution.

On my next trip to Washington D.C., I’d love to drive out to Montpelier and explore the library where Madison did much of his research and thinking about ideas that we are all so familiar with today regarding our freedoms. An original bookcase has been returned to the room, and you can actually see a spot on the floor where it is believed Madison spilled some ink as he worked. I wonder….would they let me run my finger across it?

The article goes on to discuss Madison’s stature as a Founding Father. He is credited with most of the writing involved with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, yet there is no monument to him like the Washington Monument or the Jefferson Memorial. Those involved in the restoration felt Madison’s home should become that monument to his contribution to our nation and hence the need for historical accuracy.

In a former post here at American Presidents, Jennie visited Montpelier during the renovations and posted some pictures of the front of the mansion comparing the larger mansion to the newly renovated smaller version. Check it out here.

You can view the Montpelier website here with the special Restoration section located here.

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