Summer may be over but the weather is still quite pleasant so now is a great time to plan a trip. But, you may ask, where? Well, do you like history? How about architecture? Or perhaps horticulture and agriculture pique your interest. Maybe you fancy yourself an amateur archaeologist. And maybe you appreciate ingenious designs. Or maybe you like all of the above. If so, then your vacation destination must be Poplar Forest.
Jefferson began construction of Poplar Forest in 1806 and began making regular visits to his retreat in 1809. He made several trips a year for the next fourteen years. While at Poplar Forest, Jefferson dedicated much time to his varied interests, including the study of math, natural sciences, farming, history, and Native American culture.
Upon Jefferson’s death in 1826, the home was passed to his grandson, Francis Eppes, who sold it two years later. The home then remained privately owned by various families until 1984 when it was sold to the nonprofit Corporation for Jefferson’s Poplar Forest. It became open for visitors in 1986.
It’s hard to imagine that a home of such historical significance was privately owned and occupied for so long. Thankfully though, it was this constant occupancy that kept Poplar Forest so well preserved. Nevertheless one can’t help wondering if the prior owners ever installed green shag carpeting in the parlor during the 1970’s! Well, perhaps not, but still the home did undergo many changes over the years that historians and preservationists have been painstakingly seeking to undo. And that’s what makes Poplar Forest such a fascinating place to visit. With on-going restoration and excavation projects, there is always something new to see and learn!