Tag Archives: Monticello

Today in Rip Payne

11 May

by Emma Earnst


Ready for some Friday frivolity?

On this day in 1965, Rip Payne spent the day at Monticello, capturing a handful of memories of a telephones galore. First, there are a couple of telephone booths set up on the hillside (to me, it resembles the turn of the road going around the house).  Then, we have a group of gentlemen excitedly answering phones in a tent.  One guy really likes his shades—I mean, who wouldn’t?  Next, Rip documents a fantastic 1960s fire-hazard: a slew of cords thrown about and held up in an old tree. And finally, we close with a misplaced, fantastically cheesy shot of two of the telephoners snapping pictures of one another.

I have no idea.  But you’ve got to love those eyesores of telephone booths. Oh yes, technology over preservation won out (but only temporarily).

In some exciting news regarding Monticello and preservation today, you should consider attending Preservation Piedmont’s Monticello to Main Street tour this weekend.  The tour traces Monticello’s African American community as they descended from the mountain and down into the town in the 19th and 20th centuries. Developed in conjunction with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, it is going to be fantastic. And of course, the 2pm start time still allows you a nice Court Square stroll with us in the morning!

Happy Friday!

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The Season for Seasons

26 Apr
by Emma Earnst

Looking back on the past often involves rose-colored glasses, but today my spectacles are completely clear.  As I am currently in the heat of “conference season,” when I came across this medal from the American Legion, I was quite impressed.  For those of you who aren’t aware, as the warm air entices folks outside, folks tend to name repetitive activities by attaching season to the end of an appropriate generic term.  For us twenty-somethings, there is the wedding season; for my snobby D.C. friends, there is the social season (apparently people don’t leave home during the winter?); and for adorkable academics, there is conference season.

Yes, I just used adorkable.  By the way, though, I’m totally over that phrase.  Zooey Deshanel is goddess, but don’t overuse phrases, publicists.  Okay? Thank you.

And…back to the object at hand. Usually when I attend a conference, I get a nice Microsoft-Publisher-style name badge with my name and one of the four organizations I might be representing that day.* Then I get a bunch of junk mail in a hideous bag and get shuffled away.  But back in 1938, the American Legion really knew how to treat their conference attendees right.  We’re talking full-on ribbon and brass medals, complete with images of Monticello, Jefferson (?), and American Legion seals.

 *P.S. I’m not bragging about this…it’s a confusing life I lead.

Today in Rip Payne

13 Apr
by Emma Earnst

Today, as you may be aware, is Thomas Jefferson’s birthday.  As the crowds gather at Monticello today to celebrate the omnipresent Charlottesvillian’s would-be 269th birthday, I’ll take you back 66 years to 1946, when local civic organizations and Jeffersonian-minded individuals gathered to celebrate his 203rd birthday.

In the present, the Tom Tom Founders Festival will also be opening today, with a free gala.  The apparently SXSW-inspired festival will be hosting a number of talks and events throughout the month, geared toward innovation, music, and the arts.

So, whether you choose to celebrate in the here and now or the then and there, you are just stuck with some Jefferson today.  So enjoy it!

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The Case of Wine: Barboursville Vineyards

28 Sep

That’s right, I’m back to the bottle.

Our featured object today is a wine bottle from Barboursville Vineyards, 1979.

Barboursville Cabernet Sauvingnon Wine Bottle, 1979

Label Detail, Barboursville Wine Bottle, 1979

Barboursville is one of the most richly filled historical properties in the Monticello region.  Though the vineyard and winery are far more recent additions- they were established in 1976- the property has a history that dates back to the early nineteenth century.

Barboursville Ruins

The property was originally owned by James Barbour, a lawyer, politician, and the first Governor of Virginia to reside in the Governor’s mansion.  But the mansion he is better known for here in Charlottesville is the Barboursville residence- now Barboursville ruins- built by Thomas Jefferson in 1814-1822.

Barboursville Ruins today

As the story goes, an aging Mr. Jefferson constructed the property over the course of eight years.  It was one of only three residential properties he designed, and reflects the characteristic Jeffersonian style we see around UVA Grounds and Monticello today.  His design incorporated an octagon room, a dome (never constructed), and even serpentine walls in the garden.

Sadly, we can no longer fully enjoy the architecture, as the house caught fire on Christmas Eve 1884, allegedly starting from live candles on an overly dry Christmas tree.  All that remains of the house are the ruins seen above, but if you make the trip to Barboursville, you can still walk around and explore the property and nearby Barbour family cemetery.

And of course, be sure to stop in to the winery to enjoy a tour by their fabulous guides, and sip or twelve of their delicious wines!