Happy Birthday Mr. President – Thomas Jefferson

April 8th, 2011

April 13th is upon us, and I took a walk through the Hall of Presidents at the museum to take another look at the third President of the United States, carved in bas relief in smooth Imperial Marble from our Vermont hills.

April 13, 1743, born in Shadwell, VA to Peter and Jane Jefferson, he was the third of 10 children.

Beginning school at age 9, he studied Greek, Latin, French, History and Science. At 16 he entered the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg and studied mathematics, philosophy and metaphysics, after which he earned his law degree with George Wythe, a later signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Jefferson, the lawyer, became a delegate to the Continental Congress, was the writer of the Declaration of Independence, a governor of Virginia, ambassador to France and Secretary of State under President George Washington. In addition to these achievements, Thomas Jefferson was elected the third President of the United States, serving two terms in this highest office in the land.

I am proud that the beautiful marble that lies in our Green Mountains is found in the Memorial to this great man.

The exterior walls and monumental columns are crafted from Vermont Danby Imperial marble, provided in 335 train carloads delivered from Proctor, Vermont. The exterior walls of the building reach 96 feet above the entrance with white marble columns that act as light baffles, softening the glare from outside while illuminating the interior with gentle reflected light.

Visit the Vermont Marble Museum this summer – if it is your first time, you will be surprised at the depth of the national history that grew from this marble and this company; and if you have been here before – come again, visit the Hall of Presidents, or our exhibit on the Tomb of the Unknowns, there is always a nugget of knowledge or a bit of fun in discovering Vermont’s part in US history.


My Favorite Quotes:
“Always take hold of things by the smooth handle.” – Thomas Jefferson

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.” – Thomas Jefferson

Appearance: Jefferson was six feet tall and had red hair

This is interesting: Jefferson sold his personal library of 6,487 books to the Federal government in 1815 to restart the Library of Congress which had been burned during the British invasion of Washington DC during the War of 1812

Jefferson Memorial Facts:

Construction on the Jefferson memorial began on November 15, 1939

The Jefferson memorial was completed on April 13, 1943

The design of the Jefferson memorial is similar to Monticello – Thomas Jefferson’s home, which was modeled partially after the Pantheon in Rome.

The nineteen foot tall statue of Thomas Jefferson inside the monument was originally cast in plaster, due to metal being rationed because of World War II when the monument was built. Shortly after the war ended, the plaster statue was replaced with the bronze one that stands today.

The monument has 26 pillars, which represents the number of states at the time of Jefferson’s death.

The public may visit the Thomas Jefferson Memorial 24 hours a day. However Rangers are on duty to answer questions from 9:30 A.M. to 11:30 P.M. daily.

Placement of the Jefferson Memorial on the Tidal Basin, directly south of the White House and Washington monument created a north-south axis that complemented the east-west axis that existed among the Capitol, Washington Monument and Lincoln memorial.
Pope’s design drew sharp criticism from modernist adherents who argued that building Greek and Roman edifices in the 20th century constituted a tired architectural lie. Composed of circular marble steps, a portico, a circular colonnade of Ionic order columns, and a shallow dome, the building is modeled after the Pantheon in Rome. Architect John Russell Pope used Jefferson’s own architectural tastes in Roman Architecture a style that Jefferson introduced to the country to create the building. The memorial clearly exhibits the characteristics of buildings designed by Jefferson including Monticello and the Rotunda at University of Virginia. Pope intended to imbue the memorial with a synthesis of Jefferson’s contribution as a statesman, architect, president, University of Virginia founder. Upon the death of Pope in August of 1937, Architects Daniel O Higgins and Otto Eggers took over supervision of the design and construction of the building.
On November 15, 1939, President Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the memorial. Danby Imperial marble from Vermont was used for ther the exterior walls and columns, Tennessee pink marble for the interior floor, Georgian white marble for the interior wall panels, and Missouri gray marble for the pedestal.
The interior of the memorial features a 19 foot (5.8 m) tall, 10,000 pound (5 ton) bronze statue of Jefferson by sculptor Rudulph Evans. Added four years after the dedication, the statue represents the Age of Enlightenment and Jefferson as a philosopher and statesman.

All of the links below have great information on Thomas Jefferson and the Jefferson Memorial. I thank them for all the information!