Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Lynchburg in Bedford County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Why build the mounds?

 
 
Why build the mounds? Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, October 1, 2016
1. Why build the mounds? Marker
Inscription. Thomas Jefferson's landscape design of house and mounds may have been influenced by Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio's five-part plan for a villa (left) — pavilion, hyphen, main block, hyphen, pavilion.

In his innovative design, Jefferson substituted a double row of trees for the hyphens and earthen mounds for the pavilions. Slaves created the mounds with soil from the house foundation and lawn.

Jefferson directed that each mound be covered with Weeping Willows, Golden Willows and Aspens. Five years later he asked that flowering shrubs be planted, suggesting that the original trees may not have survived.

Archaeologists have found a planting hole relating to Jefferson's design on each mound. Future work will attempt to locate additional holes in order to understand the pattern of plantings and verify which plants were actually used.


(Timeline:)
1805-1806
Digging of the house basement

1807-1808
Digging of the south lawn

Feb. 27, 1811
"plant on each mound
4. weeping willows on the top in a square 20 f. apart
Golden Willows in a circle round the middle. 15 f. apart
Aspens in a circle round the foot. 15 f. apart"

May, 12. 1812
"soon as the green swerd (grass) seed is ripe, have [some] gathered
Why build the mounds? Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, October 1, 2016
2. Why build the mounds? Marker
Andrea Palladio's Villa Barbaro, 1549 (top)
Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest, 1812 (bottom)
by the negro children and sowed on all the naked parts [of the] mound..."

Nov. 1812
"plant a double row of paper mulberries from stairways to the Mounds"

Dec. 5, 1812
"planted Monto. Aspens...viz
12 round the Eastern mound & 4. round West do [ditto]...
planted also 2 European mulberries...as part of the double row from the Western mound towards the house."

Nov. 1, 1816
"Althaeas, Gelder roses, lilacs, calycanthus, in both mounds."


 
Location. 37° 20.872′ N, 79° 15.903′ W. Marker is near Lynchburg, Virginia, in Bedford County. Marker can be reached from Bateman Bridge Road. Touch for map. Located on the grounds of Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest. Marker is in this post office area: Forest VA 24551, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Poplar Forest Planting Memorandum 1812 (within shouting distance of this marker); Commemorating Lewis and Clark (within shouting distance of this marker); What happened to Poplar Forest after Jefferson's death? (within shouting distance of this marker); Why is the lawn sunken? (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); How was the landscape partitioned?
Why build the mounds? Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, October 1, 2016
3. Why build the mounds? Marker
Idealized view of the house and mounds (c. 1815)
(about 300 feet away); Plantation Worker Housing (about 400 feet away); St. Stephen's Church (approx. 2.4 miles away); Samuel Miller (approx. 3.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lynchburg.
 
Categories. ArchitectureHorticulture & ForestryPatriots & PatriotismSettlements & Settlers
 
Why build the mounds? Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, October 1, 2016
4. Why build the mounds? Marker
Stones mark the base of the West Mound. Before the house and mounds were constructed, this area was used as a field.
Why build the mounds? Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, October 1, 2016
5. Why build the mounds? Marker
Why build the mounds? Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, October 1, 2016
6. Why build the mounds? Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 20, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 19, 2016, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This page has been viewed 92 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 19, 2016, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Paid Advertisement