5th U.S. President 1817-1825
LIFETIME: 1758-1831, of Scotch and Welsh ancestry


James Monroe homes

FARM ESTATE (top center and bottom right): " Highland " now called "Ash Lawn-Highland" in Charlottesville VA - a wood frame, one-story house with one wing, a garret, and stone cellar kitchen, on 3,500 acres. It was later enlarged and remodeled by subsequent owners.
PHOTO CREDIT (top): Internet website - artwork depicting " Highland " as it may have looked during Monroe 's time, artist unknown
PHOTO CREDIT (bottom): 2004 Calendar of Presidential Homes, photographer Garren Zuck

RETIREMENT HOME (center photo shows rear view, and bottom left photo depicts the front): "Oak Hill" in Aldie VA - a Palladian and Greek Revival brick mansion designed by Thomas Jefferson
PHOTO CREDIT: Library of Virginia , A Presidential Legacy: The Monroe Collection, The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library

Born into the class of "landed gentry," James Monroe's inherited wealth was vested in cattle, slaves, and land. For many years he lived only three miles from Thomas Jefferson at " Highland ," a modest home he called his "cabin castle." He eventually owned over 60,000 acres in Virginia and Kentucky while pursuing diverse careers as a soldier, lawyer, statesman, and diplomat.

By the time Monroe completed his second presidential term, however, most of his property had been sold to relieve heavy personal debt. Not only had he funded his own living and entertainment expenses while serving in the government, he had borrowed money to keep family members from financial ruin.

Even so, his retirement home was a stately, three-part winged house with a huge Roman-Doric rear portico overlooking 1,797 acres. As a life-long patriot, Monroe planted 13 oaks on his estate to represent the original 13 colonies.


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