ABOUT THIS PHOTO
The first known photographs of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello were taken by Charlottesville photographer William Roads in the winter of 1867-68 (and quite possibly even the year before that, 66-67). This image of the East Front captures the home in its near-abandoned condition following the Civil War, during which time it was seized by the Confederate government. One witness at the time described Monticello as “moss-covered, dilapidated, and criminally neglected.” According to one account, it was used as a hospital during the war. Monticello had been sold in 1827 by Jefferson’s daughter Martha (1772-1836), including the home, its furnishings and the property. In 1834 Naval Officer Uriah P. Levy (1792-1862) purchased the property, though he was not often in residence there. Confederates seized the property from Levy, but in 1879, following years of extensive court battles, Monticello was returned to the ownership of his nephew, Jefferson Monroe Levy (1852-1924). In 1923 he sold the property for $500,000 to the new Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation. The following year, the Foundation opened the home to the public for the first time as a “memorial to Thomas Jefferson and his ideals.” The Foundation continues to own and operate the estate today.
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