Monday, May 5, 2008

Monticello, Popular Forest and UVA

This year’s Souvenir Building Collectors Society’s (SBCS) annual convention will be the held from May 30-June 1 in Charlottesville, Va. The convention includes tours of local members’ private collections, architectural walking tours, a social dinner and the ever-popular swap meet & raffle of little buildings. Sometimes called “Jefferson's town,” Charlottesville is home to three treasures designed by our 3rd president, Thomas Jefferson. Monticello, Italian for "little mountain," is Jefferson’s Neoclassical estate which he designed on the summit of an 850-foot-high peak in the Southwest Mountains south of the Rivanna Gap. Work began on Monticello in 1768, and for many years it was added to and changed. Most of us recognize the west front of Monticello from the back of the U.S. 5 cent coin. But did you also know that its printed on the reverse of the a two dollar bill that was printed from 1928 to 1966? A pewter souvenir building of Monticello is available at the online gift shop. Both Monticello and the University of Virginia are World Heritage Sites. Jefferson was both the founder and designer of of the University of Virginia. Established in 1819, UVA’s architectural design centers on the "Academical Village" which includes The Lawn - a grand, terraced green space surrounded by residential and academic buildings, the gardens, and The Range. The main building in the design, The Rotunda was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome and is the most recognizable symbol of the University. A resin Rotunda ornament is available from the UVA bookstore. Nearby in Lynchburg, Va. is Jefferson's summer residence, Popular Forest, was his private retreat. The Jefferson-designed architecture contains elegant geometry. The exterior walls form an equal-sided octagon and the interior space is divided into four elongated octagons surrounding a central square. A pewter Poplar Forest souvenir building replica is also available online.

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