Virtual Travel: Two of our favorite Presidential homes
Mystery Photo Reveal: April 1, 2020
This week, we featured two lovely Presidential homes in Virginia. Eight former Presidents have hailed from this powerful state, including four out of our first five Presidents. In fact, by the year 1850, if you weren't born in Virginia; or within a stone's throw of Charlotte, NC; or into the famous Adams family of Massachusetts . . . you wouldn't have been President!
( . . . unless you were Martin Van Buren of Kinderhook, New York).
For the first photo - many of you correctly identified Thomas Jefferson as the builder of Monticello ("Little Mountain" in Italian), more or less overlooking Jefferson's proudest architectural project -- the University of Virginia.
On his headstone, Jefferson wanted to be remembered for three achievements: as the author of the Declaration of Independence, author of the Virginia Statute for Religious Liberty (which influenced the Constitution's Bill of Rights), and builder of the University of Virginia.
The second photo does not capture the true length of this house, which is over 300 feet long, including a 68-foot long ballroom . . . perfect for dancing the popular Virginia Reel. It remains the longest wooden frame house in America, and is still occupied by our 10th President's grandson. Now, you're intrigued, right?!
This house, a plantation on the James River, was purchased by President John Tyler in 1842. When he retired from the presidency in early 1845, he renamed the home "Sherwood Forest," as a playful retort to his political opponent (and leader of the Whig party), Henry Clay. Clay believed that President Tyler had betrayed Whig ideals, and considered him an "outlaw" in his own party.
John Tyler was the first Vice President to succeed a President who died in office (as such, he was derisively called "Your Accidency" by his opponents). His predecessor was William Henry Harrison, another native Virginian, who campaigned under the slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too."
Thanks for following along, and stay tuned for Friday - we'll be sharing our second Virtual Travel video!
Posted on April 1st in History and Culture
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